CAGAYAN Valley again wasted a huge lead before holding on in the endgame, surviving a tough challenge from BreadStory-Lyceum, 97-94, on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Rising Suns joined Jumbo Plastic Linoleum for the early lead in the conference with a 2-0 win-loss record but had to scramble to get past the winless Smashing Bakers after losing a 20-point lead.
University of Santo Tomas shooter Louie Vigil missed a triple for the Smashing Bakers, allowing the Rising Suns to score another escape. Cagayan Valley won in similar fashion against MJM M-Builders, letting a 16-point lead slip away in the endgame.
Michael Mabulac scored 24 points to lead four other Rising Suns in double-digit scoring.
“Lagi kaming nahahabol eh,” said Mabulac, the Jose Rizal University big man. “First three quarters magaling kami pero pagdating ng five minutes ng last quarter, nagkakanya-kanya kami.”
Jason Melano had 19 points, while Alex Austria added 13 including crucial free throws in the dying moments for the Rising Suns.
“So far so good naman. Kaya lang, kulang lang talaga sa killer instinct. ’Yun ang inaayos namin ngayon,” said Cagayan Valley assistant coach Nonoy Bonleon.
The Smashing Bakers, who got 27 points from Joseph Gabayni, lost for the second straight game.
Gabayni led the comeback for the Lyceum-backed squad with six straight points to pull to within three, 94-91, with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth. Austria knocked down three free throws in the final 20 seconds to keep the lead.
Cagayan Valley (97) – Mabulac 24, Melano 19, Austria 13,Dilay 12, Trollano 12, Capacio 6, Flores 4, Galliguez 3, Salamat 2, Tayongtong 2, Mag-isa 0, Olayon 0, Hernandez 0.
Breadstory-Lyceum (94) – Gabayni 27, Vigil 15, Gamboa 13, Corpuz 11, Daquioag 11, Jalalon 7, Zamora 5, Bulawan 3, Lasa 2, Baltazar 0, Lao 0, Taladua 0.
Quarterscores: 27-13; 49-36; 73-62; 97-94.