The Blackwater Elite spoiled the Alaska Aces’ return to action after a 107-101 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
The Aces did have Rob Dozier available for the match but did not play the import, who is nursing a hurt foot.
Elite import MJ Rhett notched a triple-double with 18 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists, while five others scored in double-digits for Blackwater.
Mike Cortez scored seven points in the early goings as Blackwater jumped to a 22-10 lead against Alaska.
Cyrus Baguio then nailed three straight long range shots as Alaska closed the first period on a 13-5 run to cut the Blackwater lead down to 27-23.
The Elite settled for a 51-50 halftime lead but broke a slim 56-55 edge in the third quarter after a 14-3 run highlighted by baskets from Carlo Lastimosa and a trey by Raffy Reyes to make it 72-58.
A JVee Casio three later on pulled the Aces to within 73-68 but another 13-2 run for the Elite bridging the third and fourth quarters pushed the margin up to 85-70.
Alaska had a last-ditch effort to try and steal the game, as baskets by Baguio and Vic Manuel made it only a 105-101 lead for Blackwater under the final minute, but Casio missed a trey on the next possession, allowing the Elite to escape.
Carlo Lastimosa and Reil Cervantes topscored for Blackwater with 24 and 21 points, respectively. The duo combined for 21 points in the final period.
Manuel led Alaska with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting even as Sonny Thoss chipped in 18 points and eight boards.
The Blackwater Elite (2-1) next face the Star Hotshots on Wednesday, February 24 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, the Alaska Aces (0-1) face Tropang TNT in the second game of that gameday.
Blackwater (107) – Lastimosa 24, Cervantes 21, Rhett 18, Gamalinda 12, Cortez 10, Reyes 10, Dela Cruz 6, Canada 3, Erram 2, Tiongson 1.
Alaska (101) – Manuel 20, Thoss 18, Baguio 16, Abueva 11, Casio 10, Banchero 9, Dela Cruz 4, Racal 4, Eman 3, Jazul 3, Exciminiano 2, Dela Rosa 1.
Quarterscores: 27-23, 51-50, 80-70, 107-101.