Rising Suns, Bombers bag s’final berths

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CAGAYAN Valley’s Raymond Almazan (right) tries to shake off Cebuana Lhuillier’s Jun Dizon in their D-League knockout game yesterday. pbaimage

Dexter Maiquez and John Byron Villarias sparked a late breakaway as Jose Rizal University overcame Big Chill’s twice-to-beat edge with an 80-71 decision yesterday  to advance to the semifinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

Villarias drilled 10 of his 12 points in JRU’s third quarter surge before Maiquez took over to finish with 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Bombers eliminated one of the preseason favorites.

Cagayan Valley built double-digit leads early and went on to oust Cebuana Lhuiller, 88-73, in the other do-or-die quarterfinal game at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Rising Suns, led by Eliud Poligrates’ 16 points and eight assists, zoomed ahead by as many as 20 points, 45-25, in the first half.

“We really expected to bounce back strong,” coach Alvin Pua said after his Rising Suns secured the last Final Four berth.

But a league heavyweight awaits JRU as the Bombers clash with NLEX, the top seed gunning for a fourth straight championship, in the best-of-three semis starting Tuesday.

The Rising Suns battle No. 2 Blackwater Sports in the other pairing.

“We made key stops, that’s what carried us,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses. “We also had good ball distribution. Everybody got touches.”

Villarias unloaded eight straight points for a 49-42 JRU lead late in the third period.

Last Tuesday, the Gems nipped the Rising Suns, 84-83, while the Bombers slipped past the Superchargers, 63-61.

The scores:

First Game

JRU-AIR21 80—Maiquez 18, Villarias 12, Paniamogan 10, Mabulac 9, Del Rio 9, Apinan 8, Pinto 7, Mirza 7, Lopez 0, Ighalo 0, Miranda 0.

BIG CHILL 71—Nuyles 21, Bringas 14, Brondial 13, Buenafe 10, Montilla 6, Collado 3, Semira 2, Villahermosa 2, Holstein 0, Montecastro 0, Canlas 0, Lozada 0.

Quarters: 17-19, 31-31, 53-50, 80-71

Second Game

CAGAYAN VALLEY 88—Poligrates 16, Forrester 15, Bringas 15, Celada 10, Melano 8, Almazan 8, Exciminiano 8, Pasculado 4, Webb 2, Lao 2, Cruz 0, Canta 0, Villanil 0, Montemayor 0.

CEBUANA LHUILLIER 73—Martinez 13, Leynes 11, Aguilar 9, Banal 8, Dizon 8, Custodio 7, Zamar 6, Sarangay 5, Buensuceso 4, Bustos 2, Sanga 0, Rowe 0, Mangahas 0, Bautista 0.

Quarters: 18-9, 48-29, 68-52, 88-73

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