THE Cagayan Valley Rising Suns are definitely on the rise in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
With a retooled roster and new-found confidence, the Rising Suns found themselves in unfamiliar territory at the top of the team standings after winning their first two games of the two-week old conference.
Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua said the first two wins are definitely a big boost to the franchise that went without a win in their debut conference.
“Maganda na, kahit papaano may konting kumpiyansa sa sarili mo, unlike noon na 0-9 ang hirap (makakuha ng kumpiyansa),” said Pua.
Cagayan Valley began the conference with a rousing 89-85 win over newcomer Informatics before continuing its winning streak with an 88-79 win against Boracay Rum last Tuesday.
With the blessing of the team owners, the Rising Suns made moves to lure several collegiate and amateur standouts to the team.
“Sabi lang ng mga may-ari, kumuha lang ng gusto naming mga players sa mga collegiate teams,” said Pua.
Letran center Raymond Almazan leads a host of new acquisitions by the Rising Suns and he did not disappoint in his debut game with 20 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks against the Waves.
Also reinforcing the new-look Suns are PBA D-League veteran Ping Exciminiano, Arellano’s Fil-Canadian cager James Forrester, ex-Arellano Chief Adrian Celada, La Salle’s Joshua Webb, and Far Eastern University forward Mark Bringas.
“Nasa 23, 24, 25 years old ang mga players namin kaya nandyan na ang maturity,” said Pua.
Pua, who has veteran mentors to guide him in assistant coach Francis Rodriguez and consultant Turo Valenzona, said that the team still has a long way to go.
“Mahina pa 'yan. Mahirap sabihing malakas. Basta pakita lang kami ng best namin,” said Pua.
After a winless campaign the last time around, the team has no way to go but up.