CAGAYAN Valley clinched a berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals with a 103-85 victory over Cebuana Lhuillier in Game Three on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Moala Tautuaa scored 12 of his 22 points in a huge second quarter run en route to victory.
Andrian Celada scored 16 points including three triples, while Don Trollano came up with 11 of his 14 points in the final period for the Rising Suns, who will play Hapee in the best-of-three finals starting on Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
[See Hapee reaches D-League Aspirants Cup finals with sweep of Cafe France]
The Rising Suns return to the finals for the first time since making it to the 2012-2013 Aspirants Cup where they lost to NLEX via sweep.
Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua said the Rising Suns did everything right in Game Three.
“Focused sila. Buong-buo and loob ng mga bata,” Pua said. “Will ng God. Bigay rin sa amin ito. Lahat ng sinasabi ko na i-set-up, open lagi sila. Pagagalitan ko pa ba sila?”
The Rising Suns ended the first period with six straight points to tie the game at 25. They started the second with a 7-0 run capped by a three-point play by Tautuaa, 32-25.
Cagayan Valley went on to keep its lead before erecting a 13-0 run that turned an 88-81 lead into a 101-81 advantage with less than two minutes left in the fourth.
The Rising Suns shot 48 percent from the field, hitting 13 triples.
The loss ended the Gems’ ride to the semifinals. They won Game One, 89-85, after making it to the Final Four as the fifth-seed and beating Jumbo Plastic Linoleum twice in the quarterfinals.
Kevin Ferrer led the Gems with 18 points while Norbert Torres and Simon Enciso added 15 and 14 each, but Almond Vosotros was held scoreless.
Cagayan Valley (103)—Tautuaa 22, Celada 16, Trollano 14, Galliguez 14, Austria 10, Melano 8, Salamat 7, Mabulac 4, Capacio 3, Dilay 2, Tayongtong 2, Flores 1, Olayon 0, Santos 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (85)—Ferrer 18, Torres 15, Enciso 14, A. Mangahas 12, J. Mangahas 10, Zamar 7, Lopez 3, Acibar 2, Villahermosa 2, Sarangay 2, Vosotros 0, Bautista 0.
Quarterscores: 25-25; 55-47; 73-68; 103-85.