AFTER languishing in the dark, a bunch of unheralded players have been given the chance to shine with the Rising Suns.
Now they're making the most out of the opportunity.
In an effort to beef up its roster following a 0-9 (win-loss) performance in the 2012 Foundation Cup, Cagayan Valley picked up role players who proved to be the difference makers in their huge turnaround from cellar dwellers to championship contenders.
“Aaminin ko ang totoo, inisa-isa ko ’yung mga players kung ano ang kulang nila,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua. “Nanggaling sila sa teams na hindi sila ginagamit.”
Pua mentioned players like Ping Exciminiano, Adrian Celada, and Mark Bringas who the Rising Suns recruited after hardly seeing action for their respective squads in the past.
“Mas gusto ko, may puso. Bigyan lang naman sila ng kumpiyansa,” Pua said.
Following his stint with Cebuana Lhuillier where he played second fiddle to the team's stars, Exciminiano flourished with the Rising Suns and led the team in scoring with 16-point per game average in the elimination round.
After uneventful stints with Blackwater, Celada became Cagayan Valley’s third leading scorer with 10 points per contest while Bringas grabbed a second-best 8.5 rebounds for the Rising Suns.
The players will be put to the test when the Rising Suns take on three-time defending champion NLEX Road Warriors, a veritable collection of stars from the collegiate and amateur standouts.
Pua, however, is undaunted.
“Determined kami nanalo. Mataas ang kumpiyansa ng mga players,” said Pua.