MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Valley used a balanced attack to overwhelm Boracay Rum, 88-79, and post its second straight victory for the early lead in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
The Rising Suns, who failed to win a single game in nine matches in their maiden campaign in the last conference, drew another stellar game from Christopher Eximiniano, who fired 23 points, while Raymund Almazan turned in a double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds to power the Rising Suns past the rallying Waves.
Cagayan rode on a big first quarter run to built an early 16-point advantage and stretched it to 45-27 on a three-pointer by James Forrester late in the second period.
The Waves threatened at 79-82 on a hook shot by Raymund Ilagan off Forrester with 2:27 left in the contest but the Rising Suns held on to thwart their rivals and deal Boracay Rum its second straight defeat.
Earlier, NLEX clobbered Erase Xfoliant, 101-71, in a big start to its drive for a fourth straight championship in the fledgling league.
Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Chito Salud ruled to forfeit Fruitas’ 88-82 victory against Café France after the Shakers fielded in an ineligible player last Thursday.
Salud also fined the team P25,000 for showing up with forward Joseph Erioubu in the second quarter despite “the lack of documentary requirements to prove that he is a Filipino citizen.” The 20-year old scored two points on 1 of 4 shooting in eight minutes.
Garvo Lanete scored 17 points to lead six players in double figures as the new-look Road Warriors dominated the Erasers from start to finish to essay the one-sided victory.
“This is the first time we played as a team so I challenged the players to play their game and they responded well. I guess they want to prove that they are a force to reckon with,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez of the lopsided victory.
“Admittedly, we have the talent but our chemistry is still a work in progress. Hopefully, we’ll be a lot better when we play Boracay Rum next week,” he added.
Boasting of an all-star line-up that featured some of the best talents in college basketball, the Road Warriors proved to be too much for the Erasers, who were backstopped by the core of the Perpetual Help College of Rizal that made the NCAA Final Four.
Kirk Long poured 10 of his 12 points in the opening quarter and led a 21-3 run that gave the Road Warriors a 25-11 lead.
NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang scored 14 points, Nico Salva and Matthew Ganuelas had 13 markers apiece and Ronald Pascual added 10 points for the defending champions, who led by as many as 96-55 on a three-point play by Lanete with 4:03 to play.
Outclassed and outfoxed, the Erasers found the going tougher when they lost Ervic Vijandre and Macky Acosta due to disqualifying fouls.
Vijandre drew an F2 for elbowing Ronal Pascual (second motion) while they were battling for position late in the first quarter while Acosta (F2) grappled Russel Escoto (F1) to the floor midway on the fourth.
Nate Matute scored 22 points and Jovit Mendoza had 15 for the Erasers.
“This Office having no record in its file of the submission of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Order of Recognition, the minimum requirement for foreign-born players like Mr, Erioubu, holds that the said player is ineligible to play in the PBA D-League until such time that he complies with the league’s documentary requirements,” Salud told Fruitas coach Nash Racela in his letter stating his decision.
Although his mother is a Filipina, the 6-4 Erioubo was born in Hong Kong, requiring him to obtain an Order of Recognition from the immigration department.
Fruitas plays its second game against Cebuana Lhuillier on Nov. 8 and the Shakers are expected to be in full force with the core of NCAA champion San Beda joining the team.