SIXTH-SEED Blackwater Sports got off to a strong start and pulled off an 86-78 win over Jumbo Plastic Linoleum on Tuesday to force a knockout match for a semifinal slot in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
The Elite were in control throughout and notched the win to set up another match with the twice-to-beat third seed Giants.
They face off anew on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“Our mindset is that we want to control the tempo and dictate what will happen in the game,” said Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac. “We tried to slow them down with our halfcourt press, we played zone. If they beat the zone, so be it.”
Kevin Ferrer had 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, and five steals for Blackwater Sports, while Jericho Cruz added 15 markers.
Back-to-back baskets by Ferrer capped a 10-0 run for Blackwater Sports that made it 25-15 at the end of the first period and the Elite never looked back.
Pari Llagas and Gio Ciriacruz added 13 points each for the Elite, who barely made it to the quarterfinal round with an 8-5 win-loss slate.
Jumbo Plastic Linoleum had a 19-day break after posting a 10-3 win-loss card in the eliminations and the long rest badly affected the Giants as they failed to sustain a big run to overhaul Blackwater’s lead.
The Giants even started the third quarter with 12 straight points to cut the deficit to 46-49 but Cruz scored 12 points in that period to help keep the Elite ahead.
Mark Romero had 16 points, while Jan Colina and Karl Dehesa finished with 12 points for the Giants. Jason Ballesteros grabbed 11 rebounds but scored just two points.
Blackwater Sports (86) – Ferrer 16, Cruz 15, Llagas 13, Ciriacruz 13, A. Mangahas 9, Bulawan 6, Austria 5, Pe 4, Manguera 3, Bagatsing 2.
Jumbo Plastic Linoleum (78) – Romero 16, Colina 12, Dehesa 12, Magat 11, Tan 10, Petilos 8, Arboleda 6, Ballesteros 2, Alano 1, Melegrito 0.
Quarterscores: 25-15; 46-34; 73-61; 86-78.