JOHN PINTO outplayed his college teammates as he led Cagayan Valley to a 92-75 rout of Arellano-Air21 on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan, helping the Rising Suns regain the solo lead in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Pinto, the Chiefs’ top point guard in the recently-concluded NCAA cage wars, had a game-high 23 points to lift the Rising Suns to their third straight victory.
“Si John sumasabay na sa amin kahit nung may NCAA pa kaya alam na niya ’yung sistema,” explained Cagayan Valley assistant coach Toto Dojillo.
The battle between teammates was so intense that Pinto and Arellano’s Levi Hernandez were slapped with technical fouls for figuring in a verbal altercation in the third quarter.
Pinto, who also had five assists and two steals, scored six points in a telling third quarter run where the Rising Suns pulled away.
The Rising Suns built early double-digit leads but were up by just 49-42 at halftime.
“Nung third quarter, nag-focus lang kami sa defense, naging maganda naman ang outcome,” Dojillo added.
Don Trollano had 17 points, while Adrian Celada chipped in 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Air21 is winless in two outings.
Cagayan Valley (92) – Pinto 23, Trollano 17, Celada 14, Foronda 12, Ighalo 9, Mabulac 7, Bringas 3, Saycon 2, Caperal 2, Melano 2, Jamito 1, Mercader 0, Canta 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Arellano-Air21 (75) – Rogado 17, Bangga 15, Jalalon 10, Cortes 9, Ciriacruz 9, Hernandez 5, Acidre 4, Agovida 3, Lapuz 2, Fran 1, Bartolo 0.
Quarterscores: 24-17; 49-42; 74-60; 92-75.