Tautuaa, Cagayan hold off Cebuana Lhuillier to force Game 3

PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines — Top seed Cagayan Valley averted a total collapse and salvaged a 98-93 win over Cebuana Lhuillier to extend their semifinals series to a deciding Game 3 in the 2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Monday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa towed the Rising Suns inside the final four minutes and 38 seconds as he scored eight of his team’s final 10 points. He tied his career-high with 26 points that went with 13 rebounds and five assists.

“We got hit in the mouth,” said the 6-foot-7 Tautuaa, who was a man among boys inside the paint, looking back on Cagayan Valley’s 89-85 loss in Game 1 last Thursday. “It was a wake up call for us.”

Tautuaa did damage in a variety of ways. He found a wide-open Abel Galiguez in the right wing for a go-ahead 3-pointer, 86-83, before scoring on a putback and a long jumper to stretch the Suns lead back to five, 90-85, with 3:43 left. Cagayan led by as much as 13.

After Allan Mangahas knotted the count at 83 on two free throws with still 6:41 left, the Gems were thrown into disarray the next five minutes with a slew of missed shots and crucial miscues. Kevin Ferrer turned the ball over, Simon Enciso missed on a forced drive down the lane, Paul Zamar misfired on a jumper and Mar Villahermosa couldn’t connect on a long distance shot over that span.

Still, the Gems gave the Rising Suns something to be worried about heading into Game 3 on Thursday also at the Arena.

“Too relaxed,” answered Cagayan head coach Alvin Pua in Filipino when asked why his team had to wait until the end-game to get the job done.

Almond Vosotros and Zamar paced the Gems with 15 points apiece. Zamar hit a full-court heave as time ran out.

Michael Mabulac and Galiguez contributed 16 points each for Cagayan, which shot 51% from the field.

“We’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to work hard. If we’re going to get hit, we’re going to get hit,” said Tautuaa on Game 3. Mark Giongco, INQUIRER.net