Jeff Viernes waxed hot on a Tuesday afternoon as his team St. Clare College upset University of the East, 81-79, in the day one of Metro Manila Qualifiers of Philippine Collegiate Champions League at the San Juan Arena.
With the game on the line, Viernes drained a fadeaway jumper off the glass against the defense of Gene Belleza to bring the lead back to the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) champion SCC, 80-79.
The Red Warriors, who had a great showing in the recent University Games in Bacolod, still had the last possession with 25.9 ticks left, but failed to convert.
Viernes, a mainstay for Boracay Rhum in PBA D-League, finished with 23 markers, while Marte Gil provided a solid backup with 22 points.
Meanwhile, Adamson University, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Jose Rizal University posted convincing wins in a three-day elimination schedule.
UAAP sixth placer Soaring Falcons lost a 24 lead at the halftime but still managed to trounce Interscholastic Athletic Association (ISAA) champion Philippine Merchant Marine School 73-63 in the first game.
Gab Banal and Josan Nimes scored 16 and 15 points respectively as the Cardinals thumped Men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (MNCAA) title holder Centro Escolar University, 72-66.
John Villaries led the Heavy Bombers with 25 markers and routed Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association titlist St. Francis College, 86-63.
The top two teams to survive the three-day qualifiers will advance to the ‘Sweet 16′ round, where UAAP teams UST, NU, La Salle, and NCAA squads Letran, Perpetual, San Sebastian are waiting.
*UE Red Warriors got the chance in the qualifiers after UAAP fifth placer and former PCCL back-to-back champion Far Eastern University opted not to join.