Cagayan snaps Fruitas’ unbeaten run as Cebuano guard shines anewBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Eliud Poligrates capped his stellar game with a fiery finishing kick and Cagayan Valley snapped Fruitas unbeaten run, 80-74, in the 2013 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at the JCSGO gym.
Poligrates scored eight of the last 11 points of the Rising Suns, allowing them to pull away for good — after losing their lead early in the quarter — with a little over four minutes left to play.
“Nakukuha na nya kumpyansa nya (He’s getting confident),” said head coach Alvin Pua, who returned to the sidelines after missing their last game last Monday.
The Cebuano guard scattered a career-best 29 points, which went along with eight rebounds, two assists, and four steals.
But for Pua, the defense was also the key in the victory as the Rising Suns successfully kept the Shakers at bay for the bulk of the game.
Fruitas did take the lead again — after leading 10-6 early — on a long two by Anjo Caram with 9:20 to play, after relentlessly trying to find a way to take over the game.
But Cagayan Valley reclaimed the lead on a fastbreak bucket by Joshua Webb off a Fruitas turnover, 67-65, with 6:55 to play and last year’s finalists never again trailed from there.
A looping jumper by Poligrates — as good as the dagger — put them ahead, 77-72, with 56 seconds left after Carl Cruz blew a crucial layup for the Shakers.
Cagayan Valley improved to 3-1, dealing Fruitas its first loss of the season after four starts.
Carlo Lastimosa was limited to 12 points as he sorely missed from the stripe and just went 2-for-7. Prince Caperal added 11 points, but did not score again in the second half.
Both sides didn’t shoot well from downtown but the Shakers didn’t figure well in cleaning up the glass (36-51 deficit in rebounds) and on the break (5-16 deficit in fastbreak points).