RAYMOND Almazan came up with another double-double performance and made bigger impact on defense as Cagayan Valley defeated Café France, 85-70, on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Arellano gym.
Letran star Almazan contributed 15 points and 16 rebounds and was a daunting presence on the defensive end of the floor, blocking six shots as the Rising Suns captured their third win in four outings.
By bouncing back from a 78-91 loss to Erase XFoliant last November 6, Cagayan Valley stayed right behind unbeaten leaders NLEX and Big Chill, which hold similar 2-0 cards.
Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua, however, was still unhappy over the fact that the Rising Suns relaxed in the second half.
“Kailangan pa mag-todo para ma-retain ‘yung confidence,” said Pua. “Mahirap naman mag-relax. Katulad kanina, first half dikdikan, noong third quarter, wala na, muntik ng bumaba ‘yung lamang. Nawala na dahil nag-relax.”
“May tendency ‘yung mga bata na mag-relax kapag nakakaamoy na ng lamang,” Pua added.
Almazan also didn’t escape Pua’s wrath.
“Ang motivation ko sa kanya lagi, kung magre-relax siya … mawawala ‘yung career niya. Dapat the more na gawin niya (na hindi mag-relax) para umangat yung kumpiyansa niya,” Pua said.
Ping Exciminiano had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks while Edrian Lao added 13 for the Rising Suns. Jason Melano chipped in 10 points.
Cagayan Valley launched a 13-2 run early in the third quarter for a 60-46 lead. The Rising Suns led by as many as 17 points but the lead was down to 10 in the fourth, 78-68.
Café France slipped to 1-1 win-loss record.
Cagayan Valley (85) – Almazan 15, Exciminiano 14, Lao 13, Melano 10, Poligrates 8, Celada 8, Cruz 7, Bringas 5, Webb 3, Bartolo 2, Gusi 0, Chiong 0, Forrester 0, Calabung 0.
Café France (70) – Parala 19, Padilla 12, Mendoza 11, Knuttel 9, Pogoy 6, Jamon 3, Magat 3, Alas 2, Magbitang 2, Antipuesto 2, Garcia 1, Belorio 0, Batino 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 44-41, 70-56, 85-70