CAGAYAN Valley notched its fourth victory in as many games, defeating Derulo Accelero, 104-100, on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO gym in Quezon City.
Kenneth Ighalo paced the Rising Suns, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the first half including three triples. Adrian Celada had 19 points including four triples, while John Pinto added 17 points, nine assists, and two steals for the Rising Suns.
Rising Suns coach Alvin Pua, however, was not satisfied with the victory as his team couldn’t put the Oilers away despite double-digit leads until the final moments of the game.
“Kahit sabihin mong 4-0, lagi kaming dumadaan sa butas ng karayom. Kung hindi, suwerte lang kami. Hindi ba totoo naman ’yung sinasabi ko?” said Pua, who coached against his former teammates during his playing days in Derulo Accelero coach Paolo Mendoza and assistants Christian Coronel, Warren Ybanez and Dennis Espino.
“Teammate ko since high school, college hanggang PBL si Coronel eh. Si Warren, naging teammate ko. Si Dennis, naging teammate ko. Pinaghandaan talaga kami,” said Pua.
The closest the Oilers got in the final moments was at five points, 100-95, with 27.5 seconds left. But Pinto nailed crucial free throws to seal the victory.
Derulo Accelero, which lost despite hitting 11 triples, lost its fourth straight contest.
Jett Manuel had a game-high 26 points for the Oilers.
Cagayan Valley (104) – Ighalo 21, Celada 19, Pinto 17, Trollano 13, Bringas 13, Foronda 7, Melano 5, Mabulac 4, Collado 3, Mercader 2, Caperal 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Derulo Accelero (100) – Manuel 26, Soyud 20, Bautista 14, Importante 11, Jeffries 8, Corpuz 6, Wong 5, Morillo 4, Asilum 3, Juruena 3, Dilay 0, Eman 0.
Quarterscores: 25-20; 49-40; 77-68; 104-100.