Banking on its veterans, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian pulled off a 70-60 stunner over Akari-Adamson to draw first blood in their 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals series Tuesday at Pasig Sports Center.
Cedrick Ablaza poured 12 of his 22 points in the third quarter turnaround for the Revellers, to go with his four rebounds, and three steals, while Jeff Viernes had 16 markers, eight boards, and two dimes in the victory.
“Usually, in these level of games, I really go to the veterans,” said coach Stevenson Tiu, whose four-seed Che’Lu-San Sebastian halted Akari-Adamson’s five-game tear.
It was the Revellers’ defense that did the trick in the deciding fourth frame, limiting the Falcons to just four points and frustrating top gunners Jerrick Ahanmisi and Papi Sarr to shoot a combined 7-of-23 clip from the field.
“I know (Akari-Adamson) is pressured because they’re the number one team. But our veterans are ready and they’ve all been in this situation before,” said Tiu.
Che’Lu-San Sebastian relished the grindout win where it silenced Akari-Adamson’s snipers and held them to a 2-of-15 trip from three while translating its foe’s 29 miscues to 25 easy points.
The Revellers can complete the upset with another win on Thursday in Game 2 at Ynares Sports Arena.
Simon Camacho was the lone bright spot for the Falcons with 13 points and six rebounds, while Sarr could only muster 12 markers and 10 boards.
CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN 70 — Ablaza 22, Viernes 16, David 7, Taganas 6, Bulanadi 4, Costelo 4, De Leon 4, Batino 3, Ilagan 2, Siruma 2, Collado 0, Faundo 0.
AKARI-ADAMSON 60 — Camacho 13, Sarr 12, Ahanmisi 9, Lastimosa 9, Mojica 8, Manganti 4, Espeleta 3, Catapusan 2, Bernardo 0, Pingoy 0, Zaldivar 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 34-35, 61-56, 70-60.