MANILA, Philippines—League-leaders mean nothing to them as the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems triumphed over the Cagayan Rising Suns, 89-85, to take a one-game lead in their best-of-three semifinals series in the PBA D-League Thursday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Cagayan, which went unbeaten in the eliminations, ran into a Gems wall that had its number.
Cebuana Lhuillier built a 26-point lead in the second quarter, 37-11, but Cagayan showed its might to close the gap going into the end game.
It was, however, the Gems’ day as they had a too big of a lead that the Rising Suns could not surmount.
Sitting on a comfortable 13-point lead, 88-75, midway through the fourth, Cagayan closed in and came to within three, 88-85, after John Tayongtong hit a clutch three-pointer with 18.1 seconds remaining to cap a 10-0 run.
Cebuana head coach Boysie Zamar said they are still wary of the Rising Suns, who finished with a perfect 11-0 record in the eliminations, as they can still mount a comeback.
“This is the semifinals, Cagayan is 11-0 and we’re sure they can make a comeback anytime,” Zamar said. “We credit it to the team.”
“What important is the game affected the character of the players.”
Gems center Norbert Torres went to the line with 15.1 left only to miss the second, 89-85, but diminutive guard Almond Vosotros grabbed the offensive board to practically seal the game.
Fourth quarter, however, belonged to Simon Enciso who scored 11 of his 22 points in the period to keep the Gems afloat.
Allan Mangahas added 17 points for Cebuana with Torres and Vosotros each putting up 15 points.
Jason Melano played big for Cagayan with 21 points while Don Trollano had a double-double of 19 points and 13 boards.
Cagayan got little contribution from star player Moala Tautuaa put up five points and nine boards as he only got two field goal attempts. Bong Lozada, INQUIRER.net