Cagayan de Oro Higalas trounces Cagayan Valley, books semifinals ticket

The Cagayan de Oro Higalas booked their ticket to the semifinals of the Pilipinas Super League Pearl of the Orient Cup presented by Cocolife and backed by Smart 5G with a 64-57 win over the Cagayan Valley Golden Eagles on Monday evening at the Manuel Roxas Sports Complex.The victory gave CDO a 9-5 record at the end of the elimination round, placing them as the third seed in the best-of-three semifinals. The Higalas will be taking on the second seed, Roxas Vanguards, with Game One on Tuesday.Cagayan Valley, meanwhile, bowed out of the competition without a single win in 14 matches.The win, though, was a hard-earned one for CDO as they trailed by as much as 11, 23-34, in the second canto, before turning it around late in the fourth and final canto, which they dominated, 24-11, to nab the victory.Wide-bodied power forward Red Cachuela—who helped lead the Southwestern University-Phinma to the Cesafi title back in 2019—had a monster ballgame with 23 points and 14 rebounds to go with three steals and two blocks. Former University of San Jose-Recoletos standout Nichole Ubalde added 15 markers, three rebounds, three dimes, and four steals, while John Reel Saycon, a former Cesafi Mythical Five member, came off the bench and produced 11 points.The Golden Eagles were eager to end their season on a victorious note and had the inside track as they led, 55-54, after a free-throw by James Castro with 1:45 remaining in the game. However, CDO relented as Cachuela and Ubalde responded with back-to-back baskets to give the Higalas a 58-55 lead with 33 ticks left.Saycon then made six consecutive free-throws to hammer the final nails in Cagayan Valley’s coffin.Castro led Cagayan Valley with 25 points and eight rebounds. However, he also committed six turnovers.