Cagayan Valley's miserable outside shooting allows Hapee to dominate series opener and close in on title
Coach Alvin Pua struggles to give Moala Tuatuaa room to maneuver inside as the Rising Suns' shooters fires blanks. Dante Peralta

CAGAYAN Valley coach Alvin Pua rued the Rising Suns’ dismal long-range shooting that factored heavily in their 82-74 loss to Hapee in Game One of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Finals on Monday.

An above-average three-point shooting team, the Rising Suns missed all but one of their 22 shots from beyond the arc for an miserable five-percent clip.

The Fresh Fighters took a huge 20-point lead early and never looked back.

“Hindi kami kumonekta sa outside shots namin,” Pua said. “Nung hindi nila nakuha yung rhythm nila, siguro na-upset na rin.”

[See Hapee draws first blood in Aspirants Cup finals with surprisingly easy win over Cagayan Valley]

Except for Randy Dilay (1-of-2), all the Rising Suns’ sharpshooters were off target, including Don Trollano (0-of-5), Abel Galliguez (0-of-5) and Andrian Celada (0-of-4).

“That’s the big difference. That’s unheard of for our team,” Rising Suns star slotman Mo Tautuaa said. “If just half of those fell in, it would’ve been a completely different game.”

Pua also felt the Fresh Fighters were more aggressive in driving the lane, evidenced by their 42 attempts from the charity stripe, 20 more than Cagayan’s free-throw tries.

“Hoping naman ako na-ba-bounce back,” Pua said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos