Cebuana Lhuillier plastered Cagayan, 82-55, stays in the race for outright semi-final spot

ANTIPOLO -- Janus Lozada scored all his 10 points in the first quarter as Cebuana Lhuillier got off to strong start and plastered the Cagayan Rising Suns, 82-55, on Thursday keeping the Gems in contention for an outright semifinal spot in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Center.


The small forward with a good shooting touch from the perimeter made 3 of 5 attempts from the floor and went 3 for 3 from the line for the Gems, who took the lead for good by scoring 15 of the first 17 points of the game.


“Janus got our offense going early and his versatility is also a plus factor,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Luigi Trillo, who played the Lozada as a two-guard.


“It’s also nice to see Vic (Manuel) back. Last game we only gave him 22 minutes against Big Chill. When the going gets tough and you lose a game and pupuntahan mo yung matibay na loob.


“Lester (Alvarez) and Vic did that. Lester controlled the game and Vic was very aggressive,” Trillo said.

The Gems also got huge contribution from their reserves led by Raymond Almazan, who topscored for the team with 16 points that went with his four blocks.


Pari Llagas and Manuel scored 11 apiece while Alvarez had nine points, three assists and four steals for the Gems, who bounced back from 52-68 loss against Big Chill last week and improved to 3-1 (win-loss) record.


The outcome was already beyond doubt when Raymond Maconocido nearly spoiled Cebuana’s effort by hitting Jopher Custodio from behind that nearly sparked a free for all. He drew a flagrant foul category 1.


Custodio finished with 20 points and Ronald Macuha contributed 10 for the Rising Suns, who clearly was not in the class of the Gems in terms of experience and talent.


Their four straight defeat in as many games put the Rising Suns on the brink of eliminations. Cagayan shot a woeful 29 percent (21 of 71) from the field and committed 28 turnovers.


Cebuana Lhuillier held Cagayan to 3 of 15 shooting in the first quarter and led 43-23 at halftime.


Custodio knocked back-to-back 3-pointers as the Rising Suns opened the third with a 10-0 run to trim the deficit to 10 points.


But the Gems responded with a 13-3 spurt to bring the lead back to 20 points. They posted their biggest margin at 82-52 on a lay up by Almazan late in the fourth quarter. (Dave Coros)




The scores:


Cebuana Lhuillier 82 – Almazan 12, Llagas 11, Manuel 11, Lozada 10, Celeda 9, Alvarez 9, Exciminiano 8, Apinan 4, Maconocido 3, Atkins 2, Austria 2, Hayes 1.


Cagayan Rising Suns 55 – Custodio 20, Macuha 10, Agas 6, Castro 5, Melano 4, Malig-on 3, Arce 3, Bagares 2, Tagarda 2, Chiu 0, LAscano 0, Aggarao 0, Galinato 0.


Quarters: 24-9; 43-23; 60-37; 82-55 


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