JUNERIC Baloria made an immediate impact for Big Chill, scoring 22 points to pace the Superchargers to a 90-83 win over last conference’s champion Blackwater Sports on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Perpetual Help guard who won the NCAA Rookie of the Year in Season 89 had 13 markers in a pivotal second period for the Superchargers, who won their second game at the expense of the Foundation Cup titlist.
Baloria was making his first appearance with the team that picked him in the first-ever D-League draft. The Altas were eliminated by San Beda in the NCAA Final Four.
It was Blackwater Sports’ first loss, leaving league-leading Cagayan Valley (4-0), Big Chill and Hogs Breath (1-0) as the only remaining undefeated teams in the conference.
With Baloria leading the charge, the Superchargers took a 49-38 at the half before Janus Lozada scored 15 points on four triples to stave off a Blackwater Sports comeback.
“He is a very big addition to the team,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison. “What can I say, he played awesome today.”
“We are playing against a champion team. Blackwater is a solid team, we need to outhustle and outplay them in every situation,” he added.
Allan Mangahas and Jericho Cruz led Blackwater’s comeback in the third period to trail by just two points, 69-67.
Baloria, Lozada, and Reil Cervantes scored a combined 19 points in the fourth period, while Big Chill held Blackwater without a field goal in a seven-minute stretch. Big Chill led, 86-72, with 2:51 left in the fourth.
The Elite still tried to make a comeback, trimming the deficit to five points, 83-88, with 48.8 seconds left. But Cervantes overcame Blackwater’s pressure defense, heaving a long pass right to Baloria for an easy score to seal the win.
Big Chill (90) – Baloria 22, Lozada 15, Cervantes 14, Mirza 11, Maiquez 7, Villahermosa 6, Brondial 4, Apinan 4, Heruela 3, Canlas 2, Miranda 2, Santos 0.
Blackwater Sports (83) – Ferrer 17, A. Mangahas 17, Cruz 15, Ciriacruz 13, Llagas 6, Bagatsing 5, Pe 3, Vigil 2, J. Mangahas 2, Austria 2, Avillanoza 1, Manguera 0, Suguitan 0.
Quarterscores: 21-23; 49-38; 69-67; 90-83.