JAMES Forrester and Eliud Poligrates powered Cagayan Valley to a lopsided 91-76 win over Blackwater Sports in the opener of their PBA D-League Aspirants Cup best-of-three semifinal series on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Rising Suns, looking to complete its ascent from cellar dweller to championship contender, go for a sweep on Thursday as they try to book a finals berth after failing to chalk up a single win in nine outings last conference.
Forrester keyed the Rising Suns’ second-quarter surge, scoring 13 of his 25 points, while Poligrates made sure they remained in control throughout by coming up with 14 of his 16 markers in the second half.
Raymund Almazan also had a double-double performance of 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Rising Suns, who outrebounded the Elite, 57-45.
Cagayan Valley head coach Alvin Pua said they are eager to make up for the team’s disappointing debut last conference.
“Siyempre, ngayon lang kami nakapasok sa semis after kami nag-0-9. Dapat talaga ibuhos na namin lahat,” said Pua, whose team defeated Cebuana Lhuillier in the quarterfinals.
The Rising Suns posted a 68-51 lead in the third quarter highlighted by a Forrester 360-degree dunk. Cagayan Valley entered the final period ahead, 72-60.
Blackwater Sports gained an outright semifinal berth by finishing second after the elimination round but was surprisingly outplayed by Cagayan Valley.
Kevin Ferrer had 13 points, Allan Mangahas had 12 points, and Justin Chua added 11 points for the Elite, who made only three of 18 attempts from beyond the arc.
Cagayan Valley (91) – Forrester 25, Almazan 18, Poligrates 16, Exciminiano 9, Lao 8, Webb 4, Melano 4, Bringas 4, Canta 3, Pasculado 0, Celada 0.
Blackwater Sports (76) – Ferrer 14, Mangahas 12, Chua 11, Abdul 9, Celiz 7, Vigil 5, Fortuna 5, Mazo 4, Pe 3, Llagas 3, G. Ciriacruz 3, I. Ciriacruz 0.
Quarterscores: 16-20; 47-41; 72-60; 91-76.