Revellers repel Scratchers in series opener

MANILA, Philippines — Jeff Viernes and Chris Bitoon took over in the fourth quarter as Che’Lu Bar and Grill rallied from 14 points down to shock Go for Gold, 100-96, and steal the opener of their best-of-five series for the PBA D-League Foundation Cup crown at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig last night.

Viernes and Bitoon combined for 18 of the Revellers’ 27 points in the last 10 minutes while the rest held the Scratchers to 11 markers as they overhauled a 71-85 deficit in the third period to snatch the victory after struggling majority of the way.

Che’Lu Bar and Grill thus reasserted its mastery over Go for Gold, including its two victories in the double-round elims.

“They simply don’t want to lose. During halftime, nobody wanted to back down. We just talked about our morale. We talked about how we defeated them in the eliminations and they should not defeat us now especially in the championships,” said Revellers coach Stevenson Tiu.

Viernes erupted for 34 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals while Bitoon scattered six points in the fourth and came through with a crucial rebound and a steal at endgame. He wound up with 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and an assist.

Game Two is on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the same venue.

Viernes completed a three-point play then Bitoon drove in for a basket as Che’Lu Bar forced a standoff at 92 with 2:35 remaining.

Viernes, wildly cheered by his friends, then struck with a triple and dropped four more points to cap their amazing comeback.