Blackwater Elite fired on all cylinders especially in the deciding quarter to zoom past Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 94-77, and end the latter’s two-game winning streak, Friday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
After winning at the Cuneta Astrodome and defeating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for the first time in team history to close out 2017, the Elite were able to open 2018 with its first win against Ginebra in an All-Filipino setting.
“Like what I’ve discussed (to some of the media members), it will be something special for our team if we will be able to hand Ginebra their first loss,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac. “And in our part we got our first win in 2018.”
Poy Erram and Mac Belo led Blackwater’s attack with 22 points apiece, with the former adding 11 rebounds to his total. Allein Maliksi finally broke out as he produced 17 markers and seven caroms.
From a precarious 64-63 lead early in the final frame, the Elite unloaded a compelling 18-6 spree — punctated by Mike Di Gregorio’s lay-up off a drive — to establish an 82-69 advantage with 5:09 remaining on the clock.
That run was basically the rally where Blackwater had the Gin Kings in control. They then sustained the favorable cushion afterwards by playing hard-nosed ball even in the last five minutes, eventually leading to the 17-point rout.
“They were able to cut down the lead but I told the players to just keep playing team basketball,” added Isaac on the victory, which had improved their win-loss slate to 2-1. “Luckily we were able to do what we planned.”
The loss put in vain the balanced attack the now-2-1 Ginebra had deployed, led by Greg Slaughter’s 20 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. LA Tenorio had 16 points, five boards, and six dimes, while Japeth Aguilar chipped in 14 and eight.
Guard Scottie Thompson was the third player in the game to register a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists.
Blackwater will look to make it three in a row versus TNT on January 17, Wednesday, 7:00 PM at SMART Araneta Coliseum. Ginebra, meanwhile, will aim to bounce back versus Alaska after a long break on January 21, Sunday, 6:45 PM at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Blackwater 94 – Erram 22, Belo 22, Maliksi 17, Jose 8, DiGregorio 8, Sena 7, Cortez 4, Palma 4, Marcelo 2, Pinto 0, Cruz 0, Sumang 0.
Ginebra 77 – Slaughter 20, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 14, Thompson 12, Cruz 4, Taha 4, Caguioa 3, Ferrer 2, Mariano 2, Wilson 0, R. Aguilar 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 41-33, 64-61, 94-77.
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