Rich Guinitaran hit a huge 3 with 42.2 second remaining as Centro Escolar University holds off Che'Lu Bar and Grill, 81-76, on Thursday to force a deciding Game 3 in their PBA D-League Foundation Cup semi-final duel.
"Isang daliri na lang, malalaglag na tayo. Bibitaw ba tayo? Either you die or you live and today, we refused to lose."
Guinitaran eventually finished with 20 points to share scoring honors with Orlan Wamar, who sealed the victory with a corner jumper to extend the lead to 81-76 with 16.7 left in Game 2.
Game 3 is Tuesday also at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City. The winner will face Go for Gold in a best of three titular series.
Che'Lu Bar and Grill had hoped to get the job done after a dominating performnace in Game 1 but struggled to get its rhythm going in Game 2 and trailed for most part of the game.
"That was our battlecry today. We're not thinking of Tuesday, but we're trying to stay alive," said acting coach Derrick Pumaren.
The Scorpions led by as much as 11 points but lost all it midway in the fourth quarter. A 12-0 blast capped by Jeff Viernes' triple put the Revellers up, 68-67 with 3:29 to play.
"We became tentative. We played not to lose," noted Pumaren. "We manned up. The playoff is a man's game and that's what we did. We stood our ground, took what they gave and fought."
And fought they did.
Guinitaran cornered the rebound after Wamar badly missed from beyond the arc and pulled a for three to put the Scorpions ahead. After a turnover by Che'Lu, Wamar nailed his shot from the corner for a five point CEU lead.
Viernes led all scorers with 25 points but committed a costly turnover in the closing seconds.
Chris Bitoon chimed in 14 points, but he hit the showers early after being called for a flagrant foul penalty two for an apparent low blow on Wamar with 7:01 left to play.
CEU 83 - Guinitaran 20, Wamar 20, Chan 10, Ke. Caballero 6, Formento 6, Fuentes 6, Uri 5, Rojas 4, Ko. Caballero 2, Intic 2, Oloume 2.
CHE'LU BAR AND GRILL 78 - Viernes 25, Bitoon 14, Hernandez 12, Collado 9, Melano 7, Sta. Ana 5, Ruaya 4, Siruma 2, De Joya 0, Mallari 0, Taganas 0.
Quarters: 18-19, 35-29, 55-47, 83-78.