After a forgettable start to their season, the Blackwater Elite have finally experienced the sweet scent of success in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup after demolishing the erstwhile-unbeaten Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 111-99, Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Allein Maliksi’s three-point play with 4:01 left to play on the heels of a 16-5 scoring blitz put the Elite ahead with a 106-88 lead, and that was more than enough to contain the Elasto Painters and to improve their card to 1-2.
Mike DiGregorio exploded for 27 points on an excellent 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc — along with five rebounds and four steals — to lead Blackwater, while Maliksi supplied 23 markers with seven rebounds.
“Naka-isa din,” said Elite head coach Bong Ramos, whose wards appeared well-rested following an 11-day break. “Nung first game, wala kaming character. Nung second game (Meralco) we had that. Talo, but that’s what we achieved.
“So we’ll work on our character,” he added.
Chris Javier churned out his best performance so far this season as he produced 16 points and 13 rebounds with three assists in the victory. Rookie Abu Tratter continues to be steady with 12 points and eight boards.
RoS’ (2-1) loss wasted the solid outing of James Yap, as he made 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Maverick Ahanmisi supplied 18 points — despite shooting a dismal 4-of-12 from the floor — and eight rebounds.
Rey Nambatac scored 15, while rookie Javee Mocon flirted with a double-double of 13 points and eight caroms.
The loss also spoiled the season debut of Raymond Almazan. The 6-foot-8 forward-center missed their first two games of the season due to an ankle injury, which he incurred during one of the Elasto Painters’ practices.
Both teams will see action again this Friday, February 1, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. Blackwater will face the league-leading Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters at 4:30 PM, while Rain or Shine will battle San Miguel Beermen at 7PM.
Blackwater 111 – Digregorio 27, Maliksi 23, Javier 16, Tratter 12, Belo 9, Desiderio 6, Sena 6, Sumang 4, Cortez 4, Palma 4, Alolino 0, Jose 0.
Rain or Shine 99 – Yap 20, Ahanmisi 18, Nambatac 15, Mocon 13, Daquioag 7, Ponferada 7, Torres 7, Belga 4, Maiquez 3, Borboran 3, Almazan 2, Norwood 0.
Quarterscores: 27-26, 46-53, 87-79, 111-99.