Che'Lu Bar&Grill-San Sebastian booked the first ticket to the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Finals, dispatching top seed Akari-Adamson with a 93-90 squeaker Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Akari-Adamson took an early 19-point advantage, 3-22, and appeared headed to tying the series. But the Falcons couldn't hold on to the lead.
Jeff Viernes was once again the spark for the Revellers, draining the go-ahead jumper with 18.2 seconds remaining and the split from the line for the marginal baskets as the fourth-seed repeated over the twice-to-beat Falcons in their semi-final matchup.
"Kahit anong sama ng laro ni Jeff Viernes, siya pa rin ang nagdala sa dulo," said coach Stevenson Tiu of his longtime ward, who topped Che'Lu-San Sebastian with 17 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
The Revellers' defense held up in the end game as Egie Boy Mojica's layup rolled out of the rim and forced him to throw the halfcourt hail-mary at the buzzer.
Allyn Bulanadi added 16 markers, four boards, and two assists for the Revellers. Cedrick Ablaza chalked up 15 points and eight rebounds while Michael Calisaan contributed 14 in his return from an elbow injury.
"Na-rattle kami sa first quarter," Tiu admitted. "Pero pinaghandaan din namin sila at alam namin na babalik sila. So I just told the boys na we have to work per possession kasi di naman namin mababawi yan ng isang iglap lang."
The Falcons, who finished the eliminations as the top team with their 9-2 card, saw their campaign come to a sudden halt despite shooting 50-percent in the opening canto and shoot 9-of-28 from threes.
Sean Manganti led Akari-Adamson with 29 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Jonathan Espeleta got 12 in the exit.
CHE'LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN 93 -- Viernes 17, Bulanadi 16, Ablaza 15, Calisaan 14, Ilagan 7, Siruma 7, Batino 5, David 5, Faundo 3, De Leon 2, Taganas 2, Collado 0, Costelo 0.
AKARI-ADAMSON 90 -- Manganti 29, Espeleta 12, Ahanmisi 11, Sarr 10, Pingoy 9, Camacho 6, Mojica 5, Bernardo 4, Lastimosa 4, Buenaventura 0, Longalong 0.
Quarters: 18-31, 50-56, 73-73, 93-90.