Henry Walker’s tomahawk slam in the dying seconds lifted Blackwater to an 86-84 win over the Magnolia Hotshots and helped the Elite end their seven-game skid in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Walker’s dunk with 3.4 ticks left in the game capped off Blackwater’s comeback from five points down, 77-82, with 3:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. It also sent Magnolia to their second straight defeat.
The six-foot-five forward finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
“At least the team is improving little by little. I keep on telling them to just continue to pound the rock, mabibiyak din yan,” said Blackwater head coach Bong Ramos, who has finally tasted a win since taking over in May.
“At least may positive na nangyayari sa team. When I came in, it was a big adjustment to the team. Marami akong binago na hindi nila ginagawa dati. At least, nagre-respond na sila,” added the veteran bench strategist.
Poy Erram paced the Elite with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Allein Maliksi was just a rebound short of a double-double, as he produced 16 points and nine rebounds. Mike Di Gregorio chipped in 11 markers on twin treys.
The Elite even trailed in the match in the first half by as much as 14, 21-35, but they changed things up in the second half by unloading 14 straight points to erect a 57-50 lead past the midway mark of the third canto.
The Hotshots, however, took it back later on, firing 12 unanswered points — ended by Curtis Kelly’s breakaway dunk — in the opeming moments of the fourth to convert an eight-point deficit to a 73-69 advantage with 9:30 on the clock.
That then set up a tight battle between the two, until the odds seemed to go in favor of Magnolia, as they had a four-point edge, 84-80, with 1:45 remaining after Mark Barroca’s pull-up jumper.
But from there, the Elite plotted out a hijack. A breakaway lay-up by DiGregorio and a wide-open lay-up by Erram off a beautiful find by Walker tied things up at 84-all with 24.2 ticks left.
Rome Dela Rosa tried to break the tie, but his three-pointer went airball. Allein Maliksi was able to grab the rebound, and the gunner smartly called a timeout with 8.1 seconds left to play.
Walker then made the dunk with three ticks left, but missed the bonus freebie as he got a foul. It wasn’t an issue afterwards, anyway, as Jio Jalalon’s Hail Mary was smothered.
Barroca led Magnolia with 16 points. Curtis Kelly, now in his final game, provided 12 points and nine rebounds against six turnovers and five fouls. Peter June Simon had 12 as well, and Rafi Reavis chipped in 11 markers.
Blackwater will look to sustain their rhythm as they face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday, June 8, at 4:30 PM, while Magnolia will aim to bounce back versus the Alaska Aces on Sunday, June 10, at 6:45 PM. Both games are still at the Big Dome.
Blackwater 86 – Erram 19, Maliksi 16, Walker 11, Digregorio 11, Sumang 8, Zamar 8, Pinto 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Belo 2, Sena 0, Jose 0, Palma 0
Magnolia 84 – Barroca 16, Kelly 12, Simon 12, Reavis 11, Jalalon 8, Brondial 7, Melton 6, dela Rosa 5, Lee 3, Herndon 2, Pascual 2, Ramos 0
Quarterscores: 19-27, 40-48, 69-61, 86-84