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MANILA, Philippines – The Hapee Fresh Fighters dominated from start to finish to take game 1 of the Finals over the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, 82-74, and move a win away from its first 2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Monday, February 16 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Big man Ola Adeogun posted 21 big points on top of 15 rebounds and 3 blocks for Hapee, which led by as much as 20 points in the first half following a 15-0 barrage to end the opening period.
But top seed Cagayan opened the second half with a 14-5 run that sliced the deficit to just 50-46 on a Don Trollano basket.
The Fresh Fighters, despite the Suns’ pressure defense, wrested control and stayed the course the rest of the way, stretching their lead to 77-63 on a pair of free throws from Baser Amer entering the final 4 minutes of the contest.
Troy Rosario contributed 16 points and 4 rebounds, while Art dela Cruz and Amer added 11 and 9 markers, respectively.
Newly-minted conference Most Valuable Player Ray Parks settled for just 6 points, but was helpful in other areas with his 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Moala Tautuaa led Cagayan Valley with a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Michael Mabulac had 14 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Trollano chipped in 13 markers of his own.
The Fresh Fighters, which last played in the now defunct Philippine Basketball League, joined the PBA D-League just this conference and are shooting for its first title right away.
The Rising Suns will try to even things out and force a winner-take-all game 3 in game 2 on Thursday, February 19. – Rappler.com