By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
1 p.m. – Go for Gold vs Batangas-EAC
3 p.m. – CEU vs Che’Lu Bar and Grill
Skipper Chris Bitoon highlighted his red-hot shooting with a go-ahead triple with 15.5 seconds left as Che’Lu Bar and Grill pulled off a thrilling 97-95 victory over erstwhile streaking Go for Gold yesterday in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The lefty Bitoon brushed off the defense of veteran Scratchers counterpart Jai Reyes before he pulled up for the decisive trey for a 96-95 cushion then the Revellers made a pair of defensive stops to complete their fightback from 10 points down in the final period.
More importantly, Che’Lu Bar and Grill extended its winning streak to four matches and prevented Go for Gold from completing a sweep of the first round as they shared the top spot with similar 4-1 marks.
“This is a big confidence booster for us going to the second round,” said Che’Lu Bar and Grill mentor Stevenson Tiu, who got a scintillating offensive performance from Bitoon, who finished with 31 points, 21 of them coming from beyond the arc.
Big man Jay Collado provided strong contribution off the bench with 20 points and seven rebounds while heady playmaker Jeff Viernes did his fair share with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Revellers.
Gab Banal and Paul Desiderio led a balanced attack with 14 points each but they both failed to rise to the occasion for the Scratchers down the stretch, with the former missing a triple and the latter muffing his own try at the buzzer.
Go for Gold, however, looked headed for another victory following a strong start in the final period, with Desiderio stretching their lead to 80-70 off a gutsy layup with 8:29 left to play.
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