By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
11 a.m. – CEU vs Go for Gold
1 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs Batangas-EAC
Che’Lu Bar and Grill unleashed its full offensive might over hapless AMA Online Education, 139-101, yesterday to close in on the first semifinals berth in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Skipper Jeff Viernes waxed hot with 35 points spiked by seven triples, while former Arellano star Levi Hernandez played true to his form with 22 points and six rebounds as the Revellers vented their ire over the reeling Titans in what turned out to be the highest offensive production so far in the season-ending tournament.
Che’Lu Bar and Grill bounced back from a 91-83 loss to Marinerong Pilipino last Monday and seized the solo lead anew with a 6-2 mark. But Revellers coach Stevenson Tiu felt there’s still nothing to celebrate.
“I asked them at halftime, ‘When is good enough?’ Because I felt that their intensity varies, depending on who they are facing. They appeared to be just playing around in the early goings and that is not a good habit,” he lamented.
Earlier, Centro Escolar University got back at erstwhile streaking Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 84-75, to boost its own playoff drive.
Skipper Orlan Wamar dished out an all-around performance of 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds while forward Pierce Chan added 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the Scorpions avert what could be a monumental collapse against the stubborn Generals.
More importantly, CEU avenged a 96-90 to Batangas-EAC back in the first round and jacked up its mark to 4-3, joining idle Marinerong Pilipino at the third spot with similar 4-3 records.
Acting coach Derrick Pumaren, however, feels the Scorpions still could not afford to relax since the Generals remain hot on their heels as only the top four teams at the end of the double-round eliminations will advance to the playoffs.
“We are just one game up. Batangas, with their new players, can still get two or three more wins,” he said. “But you know, we wont need to worry about that. We have to worry on ourselves right now and take care of our own business.”
Bruiser Michael Mabulac, a former San Miguel Beer practice player, had another solid showing of 27 points and 14 rebounds but it still was not enough as the Generals saw an end to their two-game winning streak and dropped down to fifth spot with a 3-4 record.
But the Generals made the Scorpions to sweat as they charged back from 19 points down in the fourth period and pulled within 75-80 off Mabulac’s back-to-back buckets, time down to just 53.5 seconds.
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