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    Blackwater, Cagayan fight for outright semis berth

    Jan 23, 2013
    Blackwater coach Leo Isaac and Cagayan Valley mentor Alvin Pua lock horns as the Elite and Rising Suns battle for playoff position. AP

    BLACKWATER Sports and Cagayan Valley clash for the final automatic semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Thursday at the Trinity University of Asia gym.

    The Elite take on the Rising Suns at 4 p.m., with the winner joining NLEX in the semifinals outright.

    Blackwater is currently in solo second with a 6-2 (win-loss) slate, just a game ahead of Cagayan Valley (6-3). The outcome of the game is crucial since ties are broken via the winner-over-the-other rule.

    Coaches of both teams said they will definitely not waste the opportunity of gaining a first-round bye in the playoffs.

    “Ayaw na namin sayangin ’yung pagkakataon,” said Cagayan Valley head coach Alvin Pua.

    “Ang bola, nasa kamay namin,” admitted Blackwater Sports counterpart Leo Isaac, referring to their semifinal chances. “Every time we play, we go for the win. Hindi na kami aasa na matatalo si ganito o si ganyan.”

    Despite being ahead in the standings, Isaac remains wary about the Rising Suns especially after witnessing Eloy Poligrates and Ping Exciminiano combined for 50 points in Cagayan Valley’s 107-75 win over Fruitas on Tuesday.

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    “We have to play controlled basketball and not let their two lefty guards dictate the tempo of the game,” said Isaac, referring to Poligrates and Eximiniano.

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    Losers of three of their last four outings, the Gems (3-5) need to sweep their remaining matches in order to have a shot in the quarterfinals.

    They will face an Icons side that is coming off its first win in nine games by stunning Big Chill, 94-87, last week.

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    Blackwater coach Leo Isaac and Cagayan Valley mentor Alvin Pua lock horns as the Elite and Rising Suns battle for playoff position. AP
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