ABEL Galliguez scored a game-high 22 points as Cagayan Valley continued its unbeaten run without top draft pick Moala Tautuaa, downing Cebuana Lhuillier, 79-76, on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Galliguez had 11 points in the third quarter to help the Rising Suns come back from a 17-point deficit to remain undefeated in three games and gain a share of first place with Hapee and Café France.
The 24-year-old Fil-American guard from Houston also sank one of two free throws with 1.1 seconds left after Cebuana Lhuillier’s Almond Vosotros missed a shot that would have sent the game into overtime.
The win was a morale booster for the Rising Suns, who are expected to have Tautuaa in their game on Thursday against Café France. Tautuaa missed the start of the Aspirants Cup as he helped the Malaysia Dragons to a runner-up finish in the Asean Basketball League.
“Coach (Alvin) Pua told us that the game is important. It’s been a while since Cagayan won three straight games in the D-League. Coach gave us a game plan and we executed it,” said Galliguez.
Trailing, 70-77, the Gems were still able to mount a comeback with Mar Villahermosa sinking a triple to cut the Rising Suns lead to 78-76 with 22 seconds to play.
The Rising Suns got a huge break when La Salle guard Vosotros missed two jumpers, including an uncontested shot from point plank.
Cagayan Valley trailed early in the game, 12-29, but took the lead on a 13-4 third-quarter run, 59-56. Cagayan Valley also opened the fourth with a 13-2 blast for the Rising Suns’ biggest lead at 72-62.
Don Trollano also had 21 for the Rising Suns.
Cagayan Valley (79) – Galliguez 22, Trollano 21, Mabulac 12, Dilay 7, Flores 7, Melano 4, Salamat 3, Tayongtong 2, Austria 1, Mag-isa 0, Hernandez 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (76) – Torres 15, Ferrer 15, Vosotros 15, Villahermosa 13, A. Mangahas 9, Enciso 3, Zamar 2, Lopez 2, Guinto 2, Sison 0, Arellano 0, J. Mangahas 0, Sarangay 0.
Quarterscores: 12-23; 37-44; 59-60; 79-76.