CAGAYAN Gerry’s won its first game without banned head coach Alvin Pua, turning back league leader Cebuana Lhuillier, 102-95, on Monday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Rising Suns leaned on Don Trollano and Abel Galliguez, who converted eight of the team’s 12 three-pointers to pull off the big victory over the Gems.
Cagayan took the win after Pua was banned for life by the PBA after punching referee Benjie Montero two weeks ago. The Rising Suns clinched the No. 3 seeding and a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
The Rising Suns, who were handled by a committee of coaches made up of Francis Rodriguez, Nonoy Bonleon, and Francis Rodriguez, ended the eliminations tied with Hapee at 6-3 but took the third spot by virtue of the winner-over-the-other rule.
[See Coach Alvin Pua hit with lifetime ban, P500,000 fine by Salud for mauling PBA D-League referee]
The Gems slipped to their second straight loss for a 7-2 slate.
Trollano fired four triples and finished with 23 points, 16 coming in the second quarter to lead the Rising Suns to a 49-38 halftime lead. Galliguez also connected from downtown four times and finished with 16 points.
Michael Mabulac also played a key role, registering 22 points with 10 coming in the fourth quarter, and pulled down 17 rebounds while battling former Cagayan cager Moala Tautuaa.
Despite playing without their coach, Galliguez said Pua still plays a major role.
“Coach Alvin challenged us the whole week. We want to have an advantage on our fastbreaks and work on our running game. I think we executed well,” said Galliguez.
“We always know he (Pua) is watching us. He’s going to watch the film so we know that we will play with or without coach. The strength of our team is whoever is coaching us, we’re going to execute hard and give our best,” said Galliguez.
Cagayan (102) — Trollano 25, Mabulac 22, Galliguez 16, Melano 11, Salamat 10, Dilay 8, Celada 5, Tayongtong 3, Magat 2, Flores 0, Santos 0, Rogado 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (95) — Torres 23, Tautuaa 18, Enciso 18, Zamar 14, Cabrera 11, J. Mangahas 6, Corpuz 5, A. Mangahas 0, Vosotros 0, Bautista 0, Van Opstal 0.
Quarterscores: 21-29; 49-38; 72-68; 102-95.