JEFF Viernes once again went ablaze and rescued Che’Lu Bar and Grill in the second half to take a 100-96 Game One victory over Go for Gold and gain headstart in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The super scorer unloaded 27 of his 34 points in the Revellers’ superb second-half rampage as they battled back from a 15-point first half deficit, 59-44.
“They simply didn’t want to lose. Sa halftime, walang gustong mag-back down. After that, nakita ninyo yung transformation started sa third quarter,” said coach Stevenson Tiu.
Viernes went on an 11-of-22 clip from the field, while also pouring eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
The win, however, almost fell out of the Revellers’ grip after a cramping Viernes missed a pair of foul shots with 12.3 ticks left, keeping the window open for the Scratchers, 99-96. But Jai Reyes went short on his potential game-tying trey as Chris Bitoon iced the game with a split from the charity stripe.
Bitoon finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, Jessie Collado got 13 points, four boards, and three assists, and JayR Taganas just missed out on a double-double with his nine points and 10 rebounds.
Che’Lu aims to gain a decisive 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series on Tuesday.
Go for Gold leaned on Gab Banal, who flirted with a triple-double to the tune of 24 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists.
Reyes and Kris Porter both had 11 markers in the losing cause for the Scratchers.
CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL 100 – Viernes 34, Bitoon 22, Collado 13, Taganas 9, Hernandez 7, Siruma 7, Melano 4, Ruaya 4, De Joya 0, Sta. Ana 0.
GO FOR GOLD 96 – Banal 24, Porter 11, Reyes 11, Tolentino 10, Canada 8, Gaco 8, Salem 7, Publico 6, Wong 5, Dennison 3, Desiderio 3.
Quarters: 21-33, 46-59, 73-85, 100-96.