BLACKWATER rode a big third-quarter surge to beat NorthPort, 96-89, on Monday night in an auspicious start to its 2020 PBA Philippine Cup campaign at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Don Trollano, Roi Sumang, and Mac Belo combined forces for Blackwater in the third period, outscoring NorthPort, 41-18, before the Elite overcame a the late comeback by the Batang Pier to begin their bubble season on a bright note.
Trollano finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Sumang added 17 points aside from sealing the win with a superb defensive play late. Belo added 16 to enable his college coach Nash Racela to pick up his first victory as Blackwater mentor.
"I didn’t really know what to expect," said Racela, who returned to the league after a brief spell as TNT coach two years ago.
"I remember before we left the dugout, my message to the whole team especially to the coaches was to help me. Medyo nakalimutan ko na kung paano mag-coach. I would need all the help I can get from everyone. Nagtulong tulong naman kami.”
He got plenty of help.
After a flat start that enabled NorthPort to take a 9-0 lead and a 47-38 advantage at the half, Trollano, Sumang, and Belo combined for 25 points in a fiery third-quarter turnaround that saw Blackwater wrest the lead, 79-65.
NorthPort came within four, 93-89, with possession to boot, but Sumang swiped the ball away from Kevin Ferrer that led to an unmolested lay-up by Ed Daquiaog with 28 seconds left in the contest.
The loss spoiled the double-double efforts of Christian Standhardinger (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Sean Anthony (22 points, 13 rebounds) for the Batang Pier.
Racela noted the importance of the win as he considers NorthPort as one of the top teams this conference.
“Natuwa ako not just for the coaches but for the players. They made their suggestions and recommendations, and they were honest in their assessment of themselves na pagod na sila, kailangan ko ng sub. I think it helped us today,” Racela added.
Blackwater 96 – Sumang 17, Trollano 17, Belo 16, Daquioag 13, Tolomia 8, Magat 8, Desiderio 4, Canaleta 3, Salem 3, Dennison 3, Golla 2, Shaw 2, Dario 0, Gabriel 0.
NorthPort 89 – Standhardinger 23, Anthony 22, Lanete 14, Elorde 7, Nabong 7, Taha 5, Manganti 3, Subido 3, Ferrer 3, Cruz 2, Revilla 0.
Quarters: 21-25; 38-47; 79-65; 96-89.