WHAT was expected to be a high-scoring shootout turned out to be a display of defense and Karim Abdul came out the winner, helping lift Blackwater Sports to a 69-64 victory over Ola Adeogun’s Fruitas on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the San Juan Gym.
The local stars actually outshone their African reinforcements, with Gio Ciriacruz hitting a tie-breaking triple with one minute and 36 seconds left in the fourth and Kevin Ferrer and Jeric Fortuna connecting on six of the game’s last eight points to propel Blackwater Sports to its second win in three matches.
Cameroon’s Abdul, however, drew praise from Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac after playing impressive defense and helping limit Adeogun to 14 points and 10 rebounds after the Nigerian center debuted with 30 points.
“Basta kaya niya i-contain si Ola,” said Isaac of Abdul, who had seven points, eight rebounds, and four assists. “Ma-contain lang niya at makuha niya ’yung rebounds, okay na ’yun because the others can fill up for him.”
Abdul’s teammates, particularly his fellow University of Santo Tomas Tigers, did pick up the slack on offense with Ferrer topscoring for the Elite with 18 points and Fortuna adding 10 markers.
Trailing by six at the half, Blackwater Sports launched a 9-0 run to start the third period to set up the thrilling finish.
“Ang sabi ko noong halftime kailangan tayo ang magdikta ng tempo, kung tayo ang madiktahan, susunod lang tayo nang susunod kasi ang alam ko, disiplinado sila (Fruitas). Alam ko maganda ang system nila pero kapag kami ang magdidikta, magulo sila,” said Isaac.
Adeogun tied the game at 60 with a shade under two minutes remaining in the game but Ciriacruz found himself wide open for a three-point conversion, a lead they never relinquished.
Fruitas still trailed by three points after Blackwater committed a 24 second violation with 16.1 seconds to go. But Mike Silungan missed two good looks at the three-point territory giving the victory to Blackwater.
The Shakers dropped to 1-2 despite 17 points from Carlo Lastimosa.
Blackwater (69) – Ferrer 18, Fortuna 10, G. Ciriacruz 9, Llagas 8, Abdul 7, Mangahas 4, Celiz 4, I. Ciriacruz 3, Chua 2, Mazo 2, Pe 2, Bagatsing 0, Lo 0.
Fruitas (64) – Lastimosa 17, Adeogun 14, Silungan 7, Caram 5, Dela Rosa 4, Belleza 4, Colina 4, Escueta 4, Terso 4, Pascual 1.
Quarterscores: 13-13; 34-40; 48-46; 69-64.