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Blackwater exits conference with a bang, upsets misfiring Meralco

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The Blackwater Elite may be out of playoff contention, but they do know how to go down with guns blazing. The struggling expansion team forced the usually fiery Meralco Bolts to misfire all game long, before eventually escaping with the 84-72 victory, Wednesday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Blackwater opened the contest with a 5-0 start, but Meralco managed to keep pace to the sweet-shooting Elite thanks to Mike Cortez and import Josh Davis, who collaborated for 17 points in the quarter. Two free throws from Davis with four minutes left on the clock gave Meralco its first taste of the lead, 18-17. Powered by Marcus Douthit, the Elite outgunned the Bolts in the ensuing back-and-forth affair, and ended the quarter on top, 26-23.

It was Reil Cervantes who took the scoring reins for Blackwater come the second quarter, dropping 7 points and helping the Elite hold on to the steady lead. In addition, with Josh Davis, Jared Dillinger, and Mike Cortez, the only Bolts who found success at the rim, Meralco trailed by as many as eight late in the quarter. A jumper from Douthit in the dying seconds gave Blackwater a ten-point lead just in time for the halftime break, 50-40.

Meralco had to contend with even more lousy shooting in the third period, as the Bolts were held to only two points in the first six minutes of the second half. The Elite led by as many as eighteen late in the quarter, with Marcus Douthit and Gilbert Bulawan putting together a brief flurry that padded the lead. A layup from Cervantes in the dying seconds of the quarter gave Blackwater a twenty-point lead, 66-46, just before the buzzer.

The Bolts once again had a slow start in the fourth quarter, but halfway through the quarter was sparked by baskets from John Wilson and Jared Dillinger, cutting the lead to thirteen, 75-62, with just five minutes left on the clock. The run however was slowed down when James Sena was slapped with a Flagrant 1 that gave Blackwater import Douthit two free throws, thus extended the lead to fifteen once more. Finally, entering the last two minutes the Elite still led by fifteen, 82-67, and needed only to sink a couple more shots to ice the win.

Marcus Douthit was named Best Player of the Game with 27 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Jared Dillinger led Meralco with 15 points. Josh Davis, the Bolts’ import, was held to 11 points with only three field goals to his name. Blackwater ends the conference with a 3-8 record, while Meralco enters the playoffs at 6-5. They shot a disappointing 33.3% from the field.

The Scores:

Blackwater (84) – Douthit 27, Erram 21, Cervantes 13, Heruela 7, Acuña 6, Bulawan 5, Gamalinda 3, Laure 2

Meralco (72) – Dillinger 15, Cortez 13, Anthony 13, Davis 11, Wilson 7, Caram 3, Reyes 2, David 2, Buenafe 1

Quarters: 26-23, 50-40, 66-46, 84-72

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