The Blackwater Elite emerged as the victor in a meeting of two teams struggling to break out a slump, outlasting an injury-plagued GlobalPort Batang Pier, 115-103, Sunday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A slow start by the GlobalPort bigs was just what Blackwater needed to build the early advantage in the first quarter, taking a 15-8 lead just four minutes into the game. Unsurprisingly, the Batang Pier’s salvation came in the form of Terrence Romeo, who collaborated with Jonathan Uyloan to build a 12-2 rally and steal the lead, 20-17, in just two minutes’ time. Despite the Batang Pier managing to hold on for the next few minutes of play, the Elite were able to put together a late rally care of Carlo Lastimosa and import MJ Rhett to force a deadlock just before the buzzer sounded, 27-all.
An 8-0 Blackwater rally opened the second quarter, with Lastimosa and Rhett continuing the previous quarter’s late push to lead by as many as seven in the second period’s opening minutes. GlobalPort import Calvin Warner exploded for six straight points to make up for a quiet first period and help the Batang Pier steal the lead, 40-38, at the halfway mark, signalling the start of an exchange of salvoes and the lead bouncing between the two squads. But it was the Blackwater reinforcement who prevailed in the second quarter’s import showdown, as MJ Rhett exploded for 10 points late in the quarter to lead the Elite to a double-digit lead at halftime, 62-51. The Elite led by as much as fourteen in the quarter, thanks to Rhett, who had 22 points in the half.
The Elite, led by Rhett, Arthur de la Cruz, and Mike Cortez, continued their scoring barrage in the third quarter, with the lead growing by as much twenty, 76-56 around the halfway mark. To add to the Batang Pier’s woes, top gunner Terrence Romeo had to be taken out of the game after complaining of pain his in his right calf. Despite their top-scoring local taking some much-needed time off the floor, import Warner, with the help of Paolo Taha, kept the spark alive for GlobalPort, collaborating to trim the lead to ten, 75-85, with less than two minutes left on the clock. A basket from Warner cut the gap to single digits just before the buzzer, 87-79, for Blackwater.
Carlo Lastimosa and Reil Cervantes were able to rouse the Elite back to life, pushing the lead back to double digits even as GlobalPort hero Romeo returned to the bench. Romeo’s return to the court could do little for the Batang Pier, who could only watch as baskets from the Elite’s gunners pushed the lead back to twenty, 111-91, with four minutes left in the quarter. The Elite’s bench unit had no trouble shooting as they pleased in the last few minutes, keeping a GlobalPort squad that had lost its spark from mounting any sudden last-minute runs.
Veteran guard Mike Cortez was named Best Player of the Game for his 22 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds for Blackwater. MJ Rhett led the scoring with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie Arthur de la Cruz added 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Calvin Warner had 26 points and 22 rebounds for GlobalPort. Terrence Romeo had 17 points in 21 minutes of action for the Batang Pier. Jonathan Uyloan had 15 points off the bench, all from his 5 of 9 shooting from the arc. The Elite benefitted greatly from the Batang Pier’s turnover woes, taking 35 points off GlobalPort’s 24 turnovers.
Blackwater rise to 3-3 after dropping two straight assignments, while sending GlobalPort to their third straight loss and a 2-4 slate.
Blackwater 115 – Rhett 30, Cortez 22, Dela Cruz 16, Cervantes 13, Lastimosa 12, Gamalinda 9, Reyes 7, Bulawan 2, Erram 2, Tiongson 2, Sena 0.
Globalport 103 – Warner 26, Romeo 17, Uyloan 15, Jensen 12, Taha 12, Kramer 8, Semerad 7, Mamaril 5, Washington 1, Fortuna 0, Maierhofer 0.
Quarterscores: 27-27; 62-51; 87-79; 115-103.
*Photo from PBA Images