Cagayan Valley holds off Cebuana Lhuillier to force deciding game in semifinal series
Rising Suns big man Moala Tautuaa scores eight points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back baskets that helped douse a rally by the Gems. Dante Peralta

MOALA Tautuaa finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds as Cagayan Valley forced a rubber match in the semifinals with a 98-93 win over Cebuana Lhuillier on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.

Tautuaa scored eight points in the final quarter to help the Rising Suns break an 83-83 deadlock en route to forcing a deciding Game Three on Thursday in what has become an emotional semifinal series between both teams.

The Rising Suns were determined to even things after losing their first match of the conference in the series opener last week. But it was no easy game for Cagayan, needing to hold off Cebuana Lhuillier which was able to close the gap after trailing 48-35 in the third period.

“Masyado laging relax eh,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua. “Walang killer instinct. Kapag nakaka-amoy ng ganung lamang, nag-rerelax.”

Michael Mabulac had 16 points while Abel Galliguez bounced back from a scoreless Game One by notching 16 points including a triple that started a 7-2 run after the 83-all tie. Tautuaa scored back-to-back baskets after that and the Rising Suns came away with the victory.

Don Trollano had nine of his 13 points in the first quarter while Andrian Celada added 11 for Cagayan Valley.

Paul Zamar and Almond Vosotros each had 15 points for the Gems, who led 6-0 at the start of the ballgame.

The Rising Suns answered the Gems’ hot start with an 11-0 run for a 14-9 lead.

The scores:

Cagayan Valley (98)—Tautuaa 26, Mabulac 16, Galliguez 16, Trollano 13, Celada 11, Melano 8, Dilay 6, Austria 2, Santos 0, Salamat 0, Tayongtong 0.

Cebuana Lhuillier (93)—Zamar 15, Vosotros 15, Bautista 11, Torres 10, A. Mangahas 9, Ferrer 9, Enciso 6, Guinto 6, Villahermosa 5, Lopez 5, Acibar 2, Banal 0.

Quarterscores: 27-20; 54-45; 78-70; 98-93.


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