BLACKWATER showed everyone that it is indeed a threat.
The Elite used a booming run bridging the final two quarters before surviving a furious stand from its foe in the final minutes to pull off an impressive upset of Alaska, 103-100, and put itself in a better position in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Prized rookie Mac Belo bounced back from a sub-par game the last time out, scoring a team-high 21 points and six rebounds to lead the way for Blackwater.
The team also got a huge lift from Roi Sumang, who scored 17 of his career-high 19 points in the second half.
This was a crucial win for Blackwater as it moved up to solo fourth place with its 5-4 mark, while Alaska, one of the hottest teams coming in, fell to 4-4 in the middle of the pack.
“We really prepared hard for this game,” confessed Blackwater coach Leo Isaac. “I told the players that if we want to beat Alaska, we need to have the same energy or even more energy than they have and all our players played their best.”
Ronjay Buenafe was also vital in the second half for Blackwater, finishing with 16 points, with four triples, while Arthur Dela Cruz scored 13 markers for more support.
It was a back-and-fourth encounter for most part until Blackwater came up with the decisive run in the second half to catch the Aces off guard and eventually take the victory.
A blistering 12-0 run zipping the third and fourth quarters suddenly gave the Elite control, taking an 83-71 advantage with 9:36 remaining after a jumper from Raymond Aguilar.
With all the momentum, Blackwater was able to capitalize and grew its lead bigger to 14 points, 92-78, with 5:48 left after Aguilar hit another crucial shot, a tough triple at the shotclock buzzer to cap the team’s surge.
The veteran team that it is, Alaska stormed back ferociously, giving itself a chance in the final seconds as it inched itself within 100-103 with ball in hand with four second to go.
But Calvin Abueva misfired on his potential-tying triple at the buzzer, allowing Blackwater to have a huge sigh of relief.
Abueva and Jvee Casio had game-high honors, each scoring 23 points for Alaska in a losing cause.
BLACKWATER 103 - Belo 21, Sumang 19, Buenafe 16, Dela Cruz 13, Aguilar 10, Sena 8, Cervantes 6, Miranda 4, Pinto 4, Ababou 2, Pascual 0, Gamalinda 0, Banal 0.
ALASKA 100 - Abueva 23, Casio 23, Manuel 13, Racal 9, Mendoza 7, Hontiveros 6, Exciminiano 6, Jazul 4, Cruz 4, Thoss 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 1.
Quarterscores: 22-28, 45-49, 76-71, 103-100.
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