ELOY Poligrates bounced back after a poor performance two days ago, lifting Cagayan Valley to an 88-73 win over upset-seeking Cebuana Lhuillier and into the semifinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Thursday.
After failing to score in the first game of their quarterfinal series, the left-handed Poligrates hit 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second period that saw the Rising Suns outscore the Gems, 30-20, to
pull away for good.
Cagayan Valley set up a best-of-three semifinal showdown with the second semifinalist Blackwater Sports starting on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The third-seeded Rising Suns, who held a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinal round, were forced to do-or-die match when the Gems pulled off a 83-84 win on Tuesday.
“Ayoko na sanang umabot sa ganito (do-or-die game) pero dahil nandito na rin tayo sa sitwasyon, sabi ko laban na tayo all the way,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua.
James Forrester and Mark Bringas each had 15 points for the Rising Suns, who also had 10 points from Adrian Celada.
The Gems could not connect from behind-the-arc, missing 23 of their 26 shots from three-point range, a big reason why they failed to mount a huge comeback after trailing, 29-48, at halftime.
James Martinez led the Gems with 13 points.
Cagayan Valley (88) – Poligrates 16, Forrester 15, Bringas 15, Celada 10, Melano 8, Almazan 8, Exciminiano 8, Pasculado 4, Webb 2, Lao 2, Cruz 0, Canta 0, Villanil 0, Montemayor 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (73) – Martinez 13, Leynes 11, Aguilar 9, Banal 8, Dizon 8, Custodio 7, Zamar 6, Sarangay 5, Buensuceso 4, Bustos 2, Sanga 0, Rowe 0, Mangahas 0, Bautista 0.
Quarterscores: 18-9; 48-29; 68-52; 88-73.