Gearing up for tough opponents in the next two games, the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems came out as if they were facing a title-contender than a winless squad.
The Gems feasted on the Cagayan Rising Suns, 82-55, Thursday to get back to their winning ways in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Four players scored in double figures for the Gems, who bounced back from a 68-52 defeat against Big Chill last April 2.
“We wanted to treat them (Cagayan) with respect,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Luigi Trillo. “They outrebounded Junior Powerade in their last game so our goal really was play them with respect.”
The Gems improved to a 3-1 win-loss card as they made sure that there wouldn’t be any upset losses before they take on defending champion NLEX and Blackwater Sports on April 19 and 24 respectively.
“We are careful knowing that our next two games will be against two Final Four teams,” Trillo said.
The Gems jumpstarted with a 24-9 lead in the first period and kept that throughout the game.
Raymond Almazan led the Gems with 12 points including eight rebounds and four blocks while Pari Llagas had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Aspirants Cup Best Player of the Conference Vic Manuel, who only had two points in their loss to Big Chill, came back with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“It’s nice to get Vic back. He was very aggressive,” said Trillo.
The Rising Suns had their head coach Alvin Pua back after a three-game suspension after a punching incident during the preseason but they still dropped to an 0-4 mark.
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