CAGAYAN Valley shrugged off a sluggish start and the absence of its coach in the second half as it repulsed Jumbo Plastic, 82-72, to remain unbeaten in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Monday at the Marikina Sports Center.
The Rising Suns trailed in the first quarter, but regained their fiery form from there on and not even the ejection of coach Alvin Pua before the start of the second half could stop them from rolling to their sixth victory in as many games that gained them a provisional share of top spot with Hapee.
Moala Tautuaa typified the slow start, going scoreless in the first half, before exploding for a team-high 16 points in the next 20 minutes to lead the Suns, who dealt the Giants just their third loss in eight games.
“I started off really slow,” the Filipino-Tongan PBA prospect said. “I was looking to pass more at the beginning because of the double team. I knew it was coming because this game because I was bigger.”
“It took us some time to loosen up their defense, but second half, we kind of pulled it together and we got it going,” added Tautuaa, who also churned out six caroms, three steals, two assists, and two blocks, at a time when they were without Pua, who was ejected after physically contacting an official before halftime.
Abel Galliguez took the cudgels early when Tautuaa far from his best, scoring half of his 14 points in the first half, while RJ Dilay provided a spark in the third quarter with all but two of his 11 markers for the Rising Suns, who led by as many as 17, 58-41, before the Giants made a run in the final frame
Joseph Terso fired a team-high 14 markers for Jumbo Plastic, including two on a trip to the charity stripe that trimmed the deficit to just 78-72 in a comeback that proved too little too late.
CAGAYAN 82 – Tautuaa 16, Galliguez 14, Dilay 11, Trollano 8, Salamat 8, Celada 8, Mabulac 6, Austria 5, Flores 4, Melano 2, Mag-isa 0, Olayon 0, Hernandez 0, Capacio 0, Tayongtong 0
JUMBO PLASTIC 74 – Terso 14, Rosales 9, Eguilos 8, Paniamogan 8, Javier 8, Tiongson 8, Cruz 6, Magat 4, Villamor 4, Rios 3, Petilos 2, Sabelina 0, Maiquez 0, King 0
Quarterscores: 14-18, 37-30, 58-45, 82-74