Wanting to end the calendar year with a bang, the Blackwater Elite exorcised its curse against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and in the Cuneta Astrodome, taking a 92-79 win, Friday evening.
Prior to this game, the three-year old franchise was 0-11 against Rain or Shine and 0-18 at the Astrodome. Both the Elite and the Elasto Painters are now even at 1-1 this conference.
“First time namin manalo against Rain or Shine and to win in Cuneta and we’re hoping that we can have a good new year with this win,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac.
After scoring 13 points to start the season, sophomore stud Mac Belo was able to sustain his momentum, finishing with a game-high 25 points on five triples to go along with seven assists, fur rebounds, and three steals.
“We had to be patient with him, same with the players with the plays,” added Isaac about Belo. “That’s what we have been discussing, we need to be patient to execute more player.”
The product of Far Eastern University proved pivotal in the clutch moments. With the game knotted at 79-all the Elite were able to gain a four-point cushion after baskets by Allein Maliksi and Mike DiGregorio.
A split on the stripe by Chris Tiu led to a basket for Belo. It was just the beginning for Belo as he was able to answer a Daquioag basket and a three-point play by Raymond Almazan with a long jumper and a three-pointer — the latter with 1:39 left.
“Our defense needed to hold to contain the firepower of Rain or Shine. We needed to contain the shooters while we were able to convert on our side,” Isaac added as Rain or Shine only scored two points in the final moments of the game as Chris Tiu and Daquioag were heavily checked.
DiGregorio added 23 points, scoring seven in the final frame. Rookie Raymar Jose added 12 points and eight rebounds while Allein Maliksi chipped in 10 markers off the bench.
Rain or Shine led by as much as 10 points in the contest, 12-2 to start the game and 35-25 early in the second frame.
Tiu once again led the Elasto Painters with 14 points. Gabe Norwood and Daquioag had 13 markers each with the former filling up the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Towering Raymond Almazan tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds with two swats.
Maverick Ahanmisi was not in the game as he had to go back to the States and join his family in grieving for his departed grandfather.
Blackwater will have a long off before facing the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Friday, January 12 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Rain or Shine takes on the Globalport Batang Pier on the same day at 7:00pm.
Blackwater (92) – Belo 25, DiGregorio 23, Jose 12, Maliksi 10, Erram 9, Pinto 7, Sumang 5, Sena 2, Cortez 0, Marcelo 0, Javier 0.
Rain or Shine (87) – Tiu 14, Norwood 13, Daquioag 13, Almazan 10, Maiquez 9, Belga 7, Borboran 6, Yap 5, Trollano 4, Ponferada 2, Nambatac 2.
Quarterscores: 28-25, 47-44, 65-64, 92-87.
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