Jeff Viernes showed why he is Che'Lu Bar and Grill's undisputed go-to guy, lifting his side to a 100-93 victory that effectively ended the hopes of Batangas-EAC to stay alive in the semifinals race in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The veteran slasher scored the Revellers last four points as Che'Lu staved off late rally by the Generals, who sliced a 12-point deficit to 96-93 with 1:37 left.
Viernes poured 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. He also had eight assists and five rebounds.
The victory all but secured CEU's spot in the next round that also includes Che'Lu Bar and Grill, Go-for Gold and Marinerong Pilipino. The Scorpions fashioned out an 82-71 hammering of lowly AMA Online Education in the first game.
Stephen Siruma added 19 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, Jessie Collado chipped in 18 and nine, and Jason Melano contributed 12 as Che'Lu, remained on top of the standings with a 7-2 record.
The win, nevertheless, served as an eye-opener for the Revellers, with coach Stevenson Tiu reminding his chargers of their tendency to relax.
"That's what I've been saying, complacency. Maybe our players think they can just walk through any opponent," he said.
"We have to prepare every game, we have to practice hard to translate every game into a win. See, we almost lost."
Cedric de Joya led Batangas-EAC (3-6) with 19 points and four assists off the bench, while Clark Derige got a double-double of 18 and 11rebounds.
In the first game, Pierce Chan exploded for 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Scorpions, who improved their record to 5-4.
Rich Guinitaran also drilled five triples to wound up with 15 points, while Cameroonian big man Gilles Oloume contributed 12 points, 17 boards, and three blocks.
The Scorpions took control early and led by as much as 21, 61-40, in the third quarter on Orlan Wamar jumper.
"As I've told the boys, it's not all about Xs and Os. The thing is you have to have the heart, the will to win, and the passion to win because AMA is 0-8, right? We can't have the attitude we can easily beat them. We have to show it on the floor, and I think we were able to show that," remarked Pumaren.
Domark Matillano paced AMA (0-9) with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Owen Graham got 15 points and 13 boards in the defeat.
CEU 82 - Chan 30, Guinitaran 15, Oloume 12, Fuentes 7, Formento 6, Uri 6, Ke. Caballero 2, Intic 2, Wamar 2, Ko. Caballero 0, Rojas 0.
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION 71 - Matillano 23, Graham 15, Garcia 13, Alao 6, Barde 5, Soriano 5, Cariaga 2, Jordan 2, Asuncion 0, Sabile 0, Rivera 0.
Quarters: 27-14, 46-31, 64-50, 82-71.
CHE'LU BAR AND GRILL 100 - Siruma 19, Viernes 19, Collado 18, Melano 12, Taganas 7, Bitoon 7, Sta. Ana 7, Mallari 5, Hernandez 4, Flores 2, Ng 0.
BATANGAS-EAC 93 - De Joya 19, Derige 18, Manalo 15, Arim 13, De Guzman 13, Dela Pe?a 8, Tabi 4, Bulawan 3, Delfinado 0, Diolanto 0, Harris 0, Mendoza 0, Saldana 0.