After a full season, the Blackwater Elite have finally notched their first PBA Philippine Cup victory, as Carlo Lastimosa banked in a floater to give the Elite a 92-90 victory over the heavily-favored Meralco Bolts, Wednesday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Blackwater coasted in the first and second quarters to lead 48-33 at the half. They gained an additional advantage when Merlaco rookie Chris Newsome was ejected after an elbow on fellow newbie Keith Agovida.
Despite Blackwater’s 63-45 advantage early in the third quarter, Meralco refused to give up and kept within touching distance for a precarious score of 69-63 at the end.
Come the fourth quarter, Meralco finally got ahead of Blackwater with a Jimmy Alapag trey to lead 72-73. Blackwater then recovered to push Meralco at 84-78, only for Jared Dillinger to tie the game at 84 all. Afterwards, Rabeh Al-Hussaini split his free throws to give Meralco an 84-85 edge while Gary David extended it to 84-87.
Blackwater needed end-game heroics from Mike Cortez, Reil Cervantes, and Lastimosa to see off a comeback from Meralco. A Lastimosa basket kept Blackwater within one point of Meralco. Suddenly, Cervantes delivered from beyond the arc, giving Blackwater a tenuous 89-87 advantage.
Down 89-87, Cliff Hodge missed his two free throws and Gary David also failed to score. Lastimosa was fouled in the next Blackwater possession and scored one of his free throws for a 90-87 Blackwater lead.
Hodge acquitted himself from his missed free throws when he made the three from outside from an Alapag assist. With the scores tied at 90-90, Blackwater had six seconds to go for the win and they pulled through in the end, when Lastimosa attacked the Meralco defense and unleashed the Hail Mary floater.
Erram top scored for Blackwater with 14 points while David did the same for Meralco at 23.
With the win, Blackwater notched a 1-1 win-loss record this season while Meralco went down to 0-2 after their loss to San Miguel.
Blackwater (92) – Erram 14, Cervantes 12, Cortez 12, Gamalinda 12, Sena 12, Lastimosa 11, Agovida 9, Canada 3, Reyes 3, Ballesteros 2, Dela Cruz 2, Vosotros 0.
Meralco (90) – David 23, Dillinger 15, Hodge 13, Al-hussaini 10, Alapag 7, Guevarra 7, Newsome 7, Hugnatan 4, Buenafe 2, Caram 2, Amer 0, Faundo 0, Nabong 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16; 48-33; 69-63; 92-90.