JEFF Viernes came to the aid of Che’Lu Bar and Grill in the clutch as it staved off Centro Escolar University’s belated rally to take the 112-97 Game 1 victory in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The veteran guard dropped 14 of his 21 points in the fourth period to help the Revellers hold off the Scorpions after seeing their 20-point third quarter lead, 79-59, trimmed down to as low as four, 94-90 with 3:11 left.
Chris Bitoon then drilled a triple before Viernes strung four straight points to make it an 11-point game, 101-90, with 2:17 remaining in favor of Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
“Yun nga ang palaging problem sa team na ito, yung complacency. Paulit ulit ko pinapaalala yun sa kanila. Good thing mas beterano kami kaya may advantage kami sa endgame,” said coach Stevenson Tiu.
Levi Hernandez paced the Revellers with 24 points and three rebounds off the bench, while Jessie Collado churned out 18 points and five rebounds.
JayR Taganas also had a solid showing as he did the dirty work with his 12 rebounds and 11 assists on top of his four points.
Che’Lu Bar and Grill has a chance to sweep the best-of-three series with another win on Thursday as it eyes a return trip to the Finals.
Judel Fuentes topped CEU with 27 points and six rebounds, while Jan Formento had 17 in the loss.
CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL 112 – Hernandez 24, Viernes 21, Collado 18, Bitoon 16, Siruma 11, Melano 6, Sta. Ana 6, Ruaya 5, Taganas 4, De Joya 1.
CEU 97 – Fuentes 27, Formento 17, Rojas 15, Guinitaran 10, Chan 9, Intic 5, Oloume 4, Wamar 4, Ke. Caballero 2, Ko. Caballero 2, Uri 2.
Quarters: 28-26, 53-46, 82-69, 112-97.