PBA D-League: Che'Lu holds off CEU, sets up finals duel with Go For Gold

It will be Che'Lu Bar and Grill versus Go for Gold in the Finals.

The Revellers earned a return trip to the championship round, staving off Centro Escolar University, 86-73, in the deciding Game 3 of their 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semi-final duel Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Jeff Viernes showed how badly he wanted this win, scattering 26 points on a 4-of-10 shooting from threes, while also doing it all with six rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Jessie Collado bullied his counterparts on his way to 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Levi Hernandez scored 12.

The frontcourt also did its part as JayR Taganas got nine points and 11 rebounds and Jason Melano got seven and 11.

"Most of our players haven't won a championship in the D-League. Even I have only reached the semifinals. That's why it was a challenge to the players that if they want to become champions, you have to beat CEU," bared coach Stevenson Tiu.

Che'Lu was relentless from the get-go, jumping on a 14-4 start then preserved that 10-point cushion all game long.

Rich Guinitaran got CEU within eight, 73-65 with 6:41 left to play, but Viernes was quick to quash that run with a triple before Hernandez joined the party and iced the game, 79-67 with his basket with 3:29 remaining.

Thus, Che'Lu Bar and Grill and Go for Gold meet for all the marbles, with Game 1 of the best-of-five series to start on Thursday.

"That's what the management's challenge is for us, to go for it," said Tiu, whose wards are motivated to make up for its defeat in the Aspirants' Cup to Zark's Burger-Lyceum.

Judel Fuentes, John Rojas, and Orlan Wamar all logged in 11 points for CEU, which made a return to the semi-finals after missing the Final Four last conference.

The Scores:

CHE'LU BAR AND GRILL 86 - Viernes 26, Collado 19, Hernandez 12, Taganas 9, Melano 7, Siruma 7, Bitoon 4, De Joya 2, Flores 0, Ruaya 0, Sta. Ana 0.

CEU 73 - Fuentes 11, Rojas 11, Wamar 11, Chan 9, Oloume 8, Ke. Caballero 7, Guinitaran 7, Formento 5, Intic 2, Uri 2, Ko. Caballero 0.

Quarters 22-12, 47-37, 69-56, 86-73.