BLACKWATER Sports set up a knockout game for a finals seat as it defeated Cagayan Valley, 86-79, on Thursday in Game Two of their PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinal series at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Following a lopsided loss in the series opener, the Elite played solid on offense while turning their defense a notch higher to force a do-or-die battle on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.
The winner meets either NLEX or Jose Rizal University, who will also play a third game in their series after the Heavy Bombers’ victory in Game Two.
Blackwater, which advanced outright to the semifinals with a second-place finish in the elimination round, was outplayed by Cagayan Valley , 91-76, in the series opener but coach Leo Isaac was pleased to see his wards bounce back.
“We didn’t come out flat,” said Isaac. “Mula umpisa hanggang matapos, flat na flat kami (in Game One). It’s a good thing that the players responded. Ang challenge ko lang sa kanila, to measure how good they are and bounce back.”
Justine Chua had a team-high 16 points while Robby Celiz added 12 markers. Karim Abdul had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a team-high five blocks, while Kevin Ferrer fired 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Blackwater came up with a 7-0 run capped by back-to-back baskets by Abdul late in the third to pull the Elite to a 67-58 lead.
Eliud Poligrates had a game-high 23 points for the Rising Suns.
Blackwater Sports (86) – Chua 16, Celiz 12, Abdul 10, Ferrer 10, Mangahas 9, Llagas 9, Bagatsing 7, Vigil 5, Fortuna 4, I. Ciriacruz 4, G. Ciriacruz 0.
Cagayan Valley (79) – Poligrates 23, Exciminiano 15, Lao 11, Celada 9, Forrester 7, Bringas 6, Almazan 4, Pasculado 2, Webb 2, Canta 0, Villanil 0, Melano 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19; 44-40; 67-60; 86-79.