JUSTIN Chua came up huge for Blackwater as it edged Boracay Rum, 87-85, in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at JCSGO Gym in Cubao on Monday.
After trailing almost the entire game, Blackwater took the upperhand in the dying seconds and Chua drained a booming triple to put up a four-point gap, 84-80, with 48.3 seconds left to play.
"Si Justin he's still in cloud nine but he's still the same player, he delivered," said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac of Chua, picked 10th overall by San Mig Coffee in Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft.
Allan Mangahas widened the gap for the Elite with his two charities, 86-80.
Rioder Cabrera answered with his own basket from beyond the arc to make it 83-86 and Boracay Rum had the chance to tie the game but Mark Belo made only two of his three free throws after being fouled from the arc.
Robby Celiz, picked 17th overall by Talk N Text, split his charities as the Elite won their opening game.
"Ang advantage lang siguro namin is that first game namin ito and sila, we already saw them play last Tuesday," said Isaac.
Chua made 15 points for Blackwater, Jericho Cruz and Kevin Ferrer each had 14, Pari Llagas added 11 and Celiz finished with 10.
"Medyo hindi nagwork 'yung second unit ko kaya we have to fall back on our veteran players," added Isaac.
It was the first meeting between Blackwater and former prospect Chris Banchero, who wound up with Boracay Rum after the first-ever PBA D-League Rookie Draft.
Ken Acibar had 16 for Boracay (1-1), Belo and Banchero had 14 each and Maclean Sabelina chipped in with 10.
Blackwater 87: Chua 15, Cruz 14, Ferrer 14, Llagas 11, Celiz 10, Austria 9, Ciriacruz 6, Mangahas 5, Pe 3, Avillanoza 0, Manguera 0, Reyes 0, Bagatsing 0, Vigil 0.
Boracay Rum 85: Acibar 16, Belo 14, Banchero 14, Sabellina 10, Cabrera 8, Viernes 5, Rosopa 5, Taha 5, Arellano 0, Tagarda 0, Siruma 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18; 35-40; 59-64; 87-85.