CAGAYAN Valley erupted for 35 points in the third period en route to a 107-75 demolition of Fruitas on Tuesday at the Jose Rizal University gym, boosting its bid for an outright semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Eloy Poligrates and Ping Exciminiano combined for 50 points as the Rising Suns improved their win-loss record to 6-3 and sealed a seat in the quarterfinals.
The Rising Suns are now just half a game behind second-running Blackwater Sports (6-2) in the race for the second outright semifinal berth. NLEX clinched the first semifinal spot by finishing the elimination round with a 9-1 mark.
Head coach Alvin Pua said they are determined not to waste an opportunity to reach the semifinals early, especially after its closest pursuer Big Chill lost to Informatics last week to drop to a 5-4 slate.
“Naghirap na kami nang naghirap, ayaw na naming sayangin ’yung pagkakataon,” said Pua. “Maglaro tayo ng magandang depensa, rotation natin, and then sa opensa, wag tayong magkanya-kanya.”
Fruitas, which played without Nigerian center Ola Adeogun for the second straight game, suffered another lopsided loss after a 100-64 defeat against JRU last week. The Shakers are now in a tie for sixth place with Café France and Boracay Rum with a 4-5 win-loss card.
Poligrates led the team in scoring with 27 points and hit four of his seven three-point shots. He also sent the crowd into a frenzy with a lob pass to James Forrester for a dunk.
Exciminiano had 23 points, five rebounds, and four steals for the Rising Suns, scoring nine in the third period that saw them take an 80-48 lead.
The lead swelled to its biggest at 105-64 late in the fourth period.
Forrester and Adrian Celada each had 12 markers.
Carlo Lastimosa led the Shakers with 14 points.
Cagayan Valley (107) – Poligrates 27, Exciminiano 23, Forrester 12, Celada 12, Almazan 8, Lao 6, Cruz 5, Bringas 5, Webb 4, Canta 3, Gusi 2, Villanil 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Fruitas (75) – Lastimosa 14, Silungan 11, Dela Rosa 10, Escobal 7, Belleza 7, Caram 5, Terso 5, Mendoza 4, Pasual 4, Colina 4, Koga 2, Escueta 2.
Quarterscores: 17-13; 45-30; 80-48; 107-75.