Jeff Viernes waxed hot in the payoff period to lead the Che’Lu Revellers to a 112-97, Game 1 win over the Centro Escolar University Scorpions in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The former GlobalPort slasher unfurled 14 of his 21 points in an explosive fourth quarter for the Revellers, as he stopped the Scorpions’ furious uprising.
CEU cut down what was once a 20-point deficit, 79-59, in the third quarter, down to just four, 94-90, with a Judel Fuentes triple at the 3:11 mark of the canto. But that was the fourth seed’s last hurrah, as Chris Bitoon nailed a trey in response, followed by four straight points from Viernes to restore the 11-point edge, 101-90 with 2:17 to play for Che’Lu.
“’Yun nga ang palaging problem sa team na ito, ‘yung complacency. Paulit-ulit ko pinapaalala ‘yun sa kanila,” said coach Stevenson Tiu. “Good thing mas beterano kami kaya may advantage kami sa endgame.”
Levi Hernandez came off the bench and topscored the Revellers with 24 points and three rebounds, while Jessie Collado delivered 18 points and five rebounds.
JayR Taganas also muscled his way to a double-double of 12 rebounds and 11 assists, alongside his four points.
Judel Fuentes paced the Scorpions with 27 points and six rebounds, while Jan Formento got 17.
Che’Lu Bar and Grill can sweep the best-of-three series and advance to the championship round with a win over CEU in Game 2 on Thursday.
Che’Lu 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.
Quarterscores: 28-26, 53-46, 82-69, 112-97.