De Leon steps up even as Che’Lu-San Sebastian loses its leader | Inquirer Sports

De Leon steps up even as Che’Lu-San Sebastian loses its leader

/ 08:43 PM April 24, 2018

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net

Almost everyone already wrote out Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian off in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup after it lost leading scorer Jeff Viernes to GlobalPort.

But the Revellers showed that they are bigger than just one person, hacking out a 107-103 win over Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Tuesday to take Game 1 and move a win away from the championship.

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“Our mindset was all of us needed to step up because we lost Jeff,” shared Samboy de Leon, who was one of the key pieces who helped Che’Lu-San Sebastian take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three titular series.

De Leon, who has been in the PBA before with Star (now-Magnolia), contributed 18 points on a 4-of-5 shooting from downtown, while also collecting five rebounds and three assists in the victory.

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More importantly, he was responsible for the tide-swinging triple at the 1:19 mark of the fourth quarter which gave the Revellers the 106-103 lead.

“I no longer hesitated. That was the play coach drew up and I just tried to be composed with my shot. I was lucky that the shot went in,” said De Leon.

De Leon, though, still couldn’t help but think about what the team is missing with Viernes now in the PBA.

“He’s like the leader of the team. When he came in, we played really good,” he said.

Luckily for Che’Lu-San Sebastian, half of this team are seasoned veterans who have been in numerous war  like Cedrick Ablaza, Stephen Siruma, and Jay-R Taganas. The like De Leon and Alfred Batino, meanwhile,  have been in this situation before and won titles in the developmental league.

“The experience is already there. So we know that we could tell our teammates that we need to be composed, that we should not lose hope even though we’re down in the end game.”

“This is the championship, so we need to focus. Whoever is available in our lineup should be ready to step up,” he ended.

Che’Lu-San Sebastian goes for the kill in Game 2 on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

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TAGS: 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian, Samboy de Leon
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