BLACKWATER is confident things will be a lot better when the team returns for the season-ending PBA Governors Cup.
Help is coming the Elite’s way after went through another frustrating campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup where they ended just a notch better than last-place NLEX Road Warriors and failed to advance to the playoffs once again.
Following the return from injury of big man Poy Eram, rookie Mac Belo is also set for a comeback next month while the team is planning to parade another explosive import who’s a veteran in European league, but whose name team manager Johnson Martinez would not divulge at the moment.
“It’s gonna be good for Blackwater. At least meron na kaming Poy (Eram) and then Mac (Belo) will be back na rin,” said the amiable team official after the franchise ended its campaign in the mid-season conference on Wednesday night with a 124-113 loss to San Miguel at the Astrodome.
Martinez said the team is still in negotiations with Blackwater’s potential import, but is confident of signing the 25-year-old American who he said is dubbed the ‘Vince Carter’ of the European league.
“Nothing concrete yet, may aayusin pa kasi,” he later texted to SPIN.ph. “But more or less we’re set for him.”
Although not about to make excuses, Martinez admitted the injuries that befell Belo and Art dela Cruz – the team’s top two scorers – took its toll to the Elite, who brought in one of the most talented imports this conference in NBA veteran Greg Smith.
“Siyempre frustrated kasi first time kaming nagkaroon ng magandang import na malaking tulong talaga sa amin,” said Martinez of the 6-foot-11 Smith.
“Kaso locals naman ang mga nawala.”
Dela Cruz went down with an ACL injury and will definitely be out for the rest of the season, while Belo underwent a procedure to repair a hurting knee.
The lack of reliable go-to-guys in the stretch definitely hurt the Elite especially in closely-fought games like the one they had against the Beermen, who they even led by as many as 21 at one point in the game.
“Every team na malalakas na nakalaban namin, nilalamangan namin,” he pointed out. “Pagdating na lang ng fourth quarter, that’s the problem kapag kulang ang tao, wala ka ng mahila (sa third group).”
The 6-foot-8 Erram already suited up for the Elite against the Beermen in his first outing with the team since going down with an ACL last August 13. He played for six scoreless minutes, but had a single rebound, a steal, and a block shot.
Martinez said the short outing is just a way of bringing back Erram's confidence.
“Pinasok naming siya to ready his mindset sa next conference. So far maganda naman,” said the team manager. “Medyo wala pa sa timing, pero he’s doing good.”