JERICHO Cruz had 25 points in picking up the slack left by the resting Kevin Ferrer to lead Blackwater Sports to a 102-81 victory over Air21-Arellano on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Cruz shot 9-of-11 from the field as he took over the scoring chores for the Elite in the absence of Ferrer, who is suffering pain in his right knee due to the continuous pounding from his stints in the D-League and with the national team in the Southeast Asian Games.
Blackwater Sports improved its win-loss record to 5-3.
The Elite needed the heroics of Cruz after the Chiefs trailed by only four points early in the fourth period.
“’Yung pagpasok ng second unit, hindi masustain ’yung intensity na binibigay ng first unit,” said Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac, whose team is still within striking distance of the leaders.
“First game of the year, gusto naming bumalik sa winning ways. Nasa gitna kami ng team standings and we want to start winning again,” said Isaac.
After a 68-64 lead early in the fourth on a basket by Joshua Webb, Cruz completed a three-point play to start off a 34-17 run for Blackwater Sports to take the win.
The Chiefs fell to 1-10.
Blackwater Sports (102) – Cruz 25, Mangahas A. 19, Bulawan 14, Llagas 10, Bagatsing 9, Ciriacruz 7, Acibar 7, Pe 6, Suguitan 3, Manguera 2, Austria 0, Mangahas J. 0, Avillanoza 0.
Air21-Arellano (81) – Webb 22, Rogado 20, Acidre 9, Fran 8, Arquero 7, Ciriacruz 5, Nuilan 4, Palma 4, Tayongtong 2, Bartolo 0.
Quarterscores: 27-17; 50-40; 68-62; 102-81.