BLACKWATER Sports clinched a quarterfinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup after trouncing Cebuana Lhuillier, 96-74, on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Elite went off to a fast start, taking a 23-2 lead in the first quarter which the Gems couldn’t recover from.
Blackwater Sports tied Café France for sixth place in the team standings with an 8-5 win-loss card but the Elite took the quarterfinal spot due to their 87-82 overtime victory over the Bakers last week.
The top two squads earned automatic semifinal berths, while the third to sixth-placed teams play in the quarterfinals.
“Considering the situation, serious basketball talaga kami. Thankful naman ako na nag-respond ’yung mga players both on offense and defense,” said Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac.
The win put the sixth-seeded Blackwater Sports in a quarterfinal series against third-ranked Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, which will have a twice-to-beat edge.
Jericho Cruz finished with 19 points, including nine in the first quarter, and 16 rebounds. Allan Mangahas added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists for Blackwater Sports.
The Gems finished the conference with a 5-8 win-loss record.
Blackwater Sports (96) – Cruz 19, A. Mangahas 16, Ferrer 11, Llagas 11, Bulawan 9, Bagatsing 9, Ciriacruz 8, Austria 6, Suguitan 3, Avillanoza 2, Acibar 2, Pe 0, J. Mangahas 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier (74) – Gamalinda 14, Leynes 10, Sumang 9, Olivares 9, Casajeros 7, Zamar 7, Banal 6, Paredes 4, Noble 2, Javier 2, Flores 2, Bustos 2, Padilla 0.
Quarterscores: 31-13; 51-34; 80-54; 96-74.