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Rising Suns shine

Games Thursday Ynares Arena
1 p.m. – AMA University vs Cebuana Lhuillier
3 p.m. – Liver Marin vs Café France

Cagayan Valley shot exceptionally well in the first quarter and the Rising Suns routed the Hapee Fresh Fighters, 104-89 on Monday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the San Juan Arena.

Abel Galliguez led the break away by going 3 of 4 from 3-point range and the Rising Suns scored a record 40 points in the first quarter for a 21-point advantage and practically put away the Fresh Fighters in a rematch of last conference’s Aspirants’ Cup Finals.

In a display of impeccable shooting, the Rising Suns made 15 of 19 attempts (79 percent) in the first 10 minutes, including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc to seize control early and made the Fresh Fighters look like also-ran. Hapee shot a woeful 5 of 14 (36 percent) during that stretch.

“We shot well and that made a big difference in this game. I thought the players have matured a lot since losing to Hapee in the Finals. If we can play this way every game, we’ll be tough to beat,” said Cagayan Valley team consultant Arturo Valenzona.

Valenzona said the players were also inspired after Cagayan Valley Gov. Alvaro Antonio announced something to the team before the game. Valenzona refused to reveal what it was.

Eric Salamat scored 20 points to lead five other Rising Suns in double figures. Galliguez tallied 17, Jason Melano had 13, Marion Magat shipped in 12 while Michale Mabulac and Moncrief Rogado added 10 apiece for Cagayan Valley, which improved to 3-2 (win-loss) record.

Mabulac also had 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.

Already reeling with the loss of Arnold Van Opstal (national team) and Garvo Lanete (knee injury), the Fresh Fighters were further depleted when center Troy Rosario was ejected with 4:24 left in the first quarter for hitting Galliguez in the head with a close fist.

Bobby Ray Parks led all scorers with 33 points but didn’t muster enough support from his teammates as Hapee picked up its second straight defeat and third overall in five games.