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Che’Lu guns for 2-0 lead

 

By JONAS TERRADO

 

Focus is expected to once again center on Jeff Viernes when Che’Lu Bar and Grill seeks a commanding 2-0 lead over Go for Gold today in Game 2 of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The 5-foot-8 guard, a candidate for the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award, will be tasked to play the starring role for the Revellers, who are looking to move a win shy of capturing the title in the match set at 5 p.m.

Viernes scored 27 of his 34 points in the second half, including a pair of jumpers in the final two minutes as Che’Lu rallied from 15 points down to escape with a 100-96 win last Thursday.

While pleased with another heroic effort from his longtime playmaker, Che’Lu coach Stevenson Tiu is eager for a better start this time after Go for Gold raced to an early lead behind its trademark outside shooting and crisp passing.

“We have to show our energy and effort right from the start because Go for Gold will definitely come back,” said Tiu.

Tiu is also banking on ex-pro Levi Hernandez, Jesse Collado and Chris Bitoon, JR Taganas, Jason Melano and Stephen Siruma in Che’Lu’s quest to repeat over a Go for Gold side determined to make up for its stunning Game 1 collapse.

Gab Banal, also a contender for the MVP plum, had 24 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a losing effort and is poised to produce the same numbers for the Charles Tiu-mentored Go for Gold.

More hungry to redeem himself is Scratchers guard Jai Reyes, who fell victim to those two Viernes baskets that completed Che’Lu’s stirring comeback while missing a game-tying triple in the dying seconds.

Go for Gold is also pinning its hopes on Matt Salem, Jerwin Gaco, Rey Publico, Jerrick Canada, Vince Tolentino, Ron Dennison and Paul Desiderio.

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