RAYMOND ALMAZAN debuted with a double-double to lift Cagayan Valley to its second straight win on Tuesday and the solo lead in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the San Juan Arena.
Almazan, Letran's 'Dark Knight' who is playing his first game for Cagayan, had 20 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks as the Rising Suns downed Boracay Rum 88-79.
The Rising Suns are in unfamiliar territory with the early lead and a 2-0 win-loss card following a 0-9 debut last conference.
“Siguro gustong bumawi sa pagkatalo sa NCAA at gusto magpakita dahil PBA na ang next step,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua of Almazan, who practiced with the team for the first time just last Monday.
The Rising Suns built a 47-36 lead at halftime after entering the second quarter with a 20-13 lead then staved off the Waves’ last ditch effort to capture the victory.
“Kaunting amuyan pa. Nagmamadali kami sa opensa, kanina lumamang kami almost 20 tapos nag-relax na,” said Pua.
Ping Exciminiano led the Rising Suns in scoring with 23 points, Joshua Webb had 12 points while Mark Bringas had seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Waves, who slipped to 0-2, came to within three points, 82-79, with two minutes and 27 seconds left in the game but were silenced with Almazan keying the Rising Suns’ defense. He didn’t block a shot in the final two minutes of the game but altered several shots in the end game.
“Konting stamina pa tsaka sa katawan pero andoon ’yung intimidation sa defense,” said Pua.
Cagayan Valley (88) – Exciminiano 23, Almazan 20, Webb 12, Forrester 7, Bringas 7, Poligrates 6, Lao 5, Melano 4, Celada 4, Bartolo 0, Chiong 0, Macuha 0.
Boracay Rum (79) – Cabrera 17, Acibar 11, Viernes 10, Khobuntin 9, Ilagan 9, Taha 7, Tolentino 6, Sabellina 4, Siruma 3, Bandaying 3, Eguilos 0, Foronda 0.
Quarterscores: 29-13; 47-36; 69-61; 88-79.