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A tale of two halves: Kia demolish Blackwater after a slow first half



The much awaited opening of the PBA kicked off with a game between expansion teams Kia and Blackwater. In front of a crowd of 49,000 people, the Pacquiao-coached team would weather first half jitters to make a big comeback and defeat the Elite.

The match started well for Kia as they were able to take a small 6-4 lead. Unfortunately for Pacquiao’s team, their opponents were able to go on an 11-0 run, putting Blackwater up, 6-15. Hans Thiele was able to break the silence with a jumper that closed the gap to 7 points, but Artadi answered back with a 3 to give Blackwater their first double digit lead of the game at 8-18. The quarter ended with Blackwater holding a 9-point lead over Kia, 12-21.

The second quarter started with Hans Thiele trying to bring his team back into the game. He opened the quarter by splitting a pair of free throws, putting back a missed shot, and scoring on an and-one. The problem for his team was they were unable to make stops against their opponent. After Thiele’s putback, Juami Tiongson was able to score. After his And-one, Tiongson once again scored on a lay-up. Facing an 11-point deficit at 20-31, former Lasallian LA Revilla scored on an and-one, making his freebie to bring his team’s deficit down to 8, 23-31. Former Gilas member Cawaling did not give his opponent any time to celebrate as he showed his sweet shooting with a big 3 that brought the gap back to 11, 23-34. Revilla answered with a floater to close the gap, 25-34.

Coach Manny must have given his team one hell of a speech during halftime, as Kia practically played with fire in their eyes to start the third quarter. At the third, Kia started to press their opponent, giving Blackwater a hard time setting up their offense. Due to this, Kia was able to slowly chip away at the lead. Down 7, 36-43, the Real Deal, Reil Cervantes completed an and-one with a sidestep that forced an Erram foul. Immediately after, Revilla stole the ball from Tiongson and gave it up to Cervantes for another fast-break Lay-up, cutting the deficit to 2 points, 41-43. Tiongson answered with a 3 to keep Blackwater afloat, 41-46.

How would Kia respond? More importantly, how would Revilla respond? He countered with a 3 of his own, cutting the deficit to 2 points again, 44-46. A miss by Blackwater would give Kia a chance to finally tie the game, and yes they did with another Revilla basket, his tenth point of the game, to tie things up  at 46-all. Hans Thiele finally gave Kia the lead after trailing for most of the first half, 48-46. Once again, the smallest man on the floor, LA Revilla was able to score over his taller opponents, 50-46.

With a 5-point lead, 56-51, Revilla once again took-over, scoring on a jumper, a fast-break lay-up, and a big three-point shot. Kia started the third quarter down 9, 25-34, and they ended it up 12, 63-51, shutting down the Blackwater offense while scoring 38 points in the quarter. LA Revilla scored 14 points in the quarter.

While Revilla was relatively quiet in the final canto, his teammates would pick up the slack and not allow their opponents back in the game. Big threes from sanga and Lingganay would keep Blackwater from making a comeback from the ballgame. Kia would attain their first win of the PBA, 80-66.

LA Revilla was the player of the game. Revilla scored 23 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Hans Thiele, Riel Cervantes, and Rudy Lingganay also scored in double-figures scoring 13, 13 and 11 respectively. The Blackwater squad was led by the Ateneo duo of Juami Tiongson and JP Erram.

KIA 80 – Revilla 23, Thiele 13, Cervantes 13, Lingganay 11, Saldua 7,
Alvarez 4, Sanga 3, Webb 2, Padilla 2, Buensuceso 1, Ighalo 1, Alonzo
0, Pacquiao 0, Raymundo 0.

BLACKWATER 66 – Tiongson 10, Erram 10, Faundo 6, Nuyles 6, Menor 6,
Cawaling 6, Artadi 6, Salvacion 6, Ballesteros 4, Rodriguez 2, Laure
2, Austria 2, Timberlake 0, Gamalinda 0.

Quarterscores: 12-21, 25-34, 63-51, 80-66

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