Hapee on to PBA D-League finals, Cagayan forces game 3

Jane Bracher
Hapee on to PBA D-League finals, Cagayan forces game 3
Ray Parks leads Hapee to the first finals berth, as Moala Tautuaa helps Cagayan force a deciding game 3 against Cebuana in the semis

MANILA, Philippines – One finals ticket punched, one more to go.

The Hapee Fresh Fighters averted a rubber match and finished off the Cafe France Bakers in game 2 of the semis, 69-56, to advance to the finals of the 2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Monday, February 9 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Former two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Ray Parks did everything for the second-seed Hapee as he scored 19 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and topped it all off with a block to lead another lopsided win similar to game 1’s 74-58 rout. 

Center Ola Adeogun was right behind him with 12 points and Garvo Lanete, last year’s MVP when he was still with NLEX, also had 12 markers, including 8 in the pivotal third frame, where Hapee kicked into high gear and pulled away for good. 

Samboy de Leon was Cafe France’s top scorer as he sizzled for 13 points in the opening period but was silenced in the second half to finish with just 15. Fil-Am Maverick Ahanmisi added 17 points while guard Gelo Alolino had 7 for the Bakers, which controlled the first half and led by 36-35 at halftime.

Moala Tautuaa (center) battles Norbert Torres (right) and Kevin Ferrer (left) in the paint. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

It was the exact opposite in the other semifinals series between top-seeded the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns and the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems, where both teams played toe-to-toe since game 1.

Cagayan Valley saved their conference and force a deciding game 3 with a 98-93 triumph in the day’s first game. Cebuana prevailed in game 1, 89-85, last Thursday, which was Cagayan’s first loss after sweeping the eliminations.

Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa spearheaded the Rising Suns’ endgame assault, converting on a putback and a jumper to give his team a 90-85 cushion within the final 4 minutes. Tautuaa later tipped in another putback to make it a 92-87 Cagayan edge with 1:04 remaining. He ended up with 26 points to tie his career high, along with 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

Michael Mabulac and Abel Galliguez had 16 points each while Adamson University’s Don Trollano chipped in 13 markers for Cagayan, which led by as much as 13 points. 

Paul Zamar and Almond Vosotros conspired for 30 points, as Cebuana tied the game up at 83-all with 6:41 to play. But Tautuaa passed to Galliguez on the wing 20 seconds later for the go-ahead three-pointer off a timeout, 86-83.

Hapee will face the winner between Cagayan and Cebuana – which plays its do-or-die game 3 on Thursday, February 12 – in a best-of-3 finals affair. – Rappler.com

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