BINAN, Laguna - Alex Nuyles and veteran forward Sunday Salvacion keyeda whirlwind second-half offensive as Blackwater whipped Kia, 88-77 in the battle of two expansion ballclubs in Saturday’s Liga ng Bayan PBA preseason game at the Binan Sports Arena.
Nuyles, a dispersal draft pick-up from Rain or Shine, shone brightest in the early goings of the fourth period, scoring on numerous fastbreak layups before capping his heroics with a long three-point shot that wrapped up the win for the Elite.
Salvacion, a PBA veteran who had stints with Ginebra, Barako Bull and Meralco, chipped in 15 points, all coming from beyond the arc.
“Okay naman ang performance namin, considering this is just our second official tune-up game,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac after the game.
The game also marked the debut of Kia playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, who checked in at the 9:45 mark of the second period.
Pacquiao, the oldest rookie to ever be drafted in league history, logged one point, one rebound and two turnovers in 10-and-a-half minutes of action.
The Filipino boxing icon didn’t call the shots for Kia, leaving lead assistant coach Glen Capacio to do the coaching after being out of the team’s practice for close to two months due to his training for the title fight against Chris Algieri.
Still, Pacquiao felt the team wasn’t able to play the kind of lock-down defense he had wanted to see during the first three quarters, allowing Blackwater to dictate the tempo.
“Puwede namin mag-capitaize is yung defense namin, pero kanina, di pa namin na-execute yung depensa masyado na gusto namin,” said Pacquiao, who, in his brief stint on the floor, was hounded on the defensive end
by Fil-Am guard Chris Timberlake, and later on, by Salvacion.
But the Kia playing-coach expects his team to prepare well for the next two weeks leading up to the team’s first official PBA game on October 19, where the Sorentos will also face the Elite at the Philippine Arena.
Pacquiao also promised Kia and PBA fans that he will play in the opening season of the PBA.
“Lalaro ako sa opening para ma-inspire yung team ko,” he added.
Blackwater 88- Nuyles 18, Salvacion 15, Cawaling 12, Menor 7, Laure 6, Heruela 4, Austria 4, Faundo 4, Erram 4, Gamalinda 4, Timberlake 2, Celiz 2, Llagas 2, Artadi 2, Ballesteros 2
Kia 77- Cervantes 23, Alonzo 10, Thiele 9, Lingganay 8, Raymundo 6, Alvarez 5, Revilla 4, Bagatsing 3, Ighalo 2, Sanga 2, Padilla 2, Burtscher 2, Pacquiao 1, Saldua 0
Quarterscores: 22-20, 42-40, 72-58, 88-77