WHETHER Blackwater is for real or not is set to be determined as it tangles with powerhouse TNT KaTropa on Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With a retooled roster bannered by rookie sensation Mac Belo, the Elite have gone unbeaten in their first two games to emerge as the all-Filipino conference’s surprise co-leaders.
But the three-year-old franchise gets its first real test in the Texters in a matchup that tips off at 4:15 p.m.
Already flaunting their depth with seven players, led by Ranidel de Ocampo, scoring in double figures and one more scoring eight points in their 108-103 win over Ginebra last Sunday, the Texters get another boost with the return of cornerstone Jayson Castro.
The Texters surely need all the help they can get as they face a team on the rise in the Elite.
“Other teams would be preparing harder for us unlike in the last two years,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said. “Pag nakita sa schedule na kami ang kalaban, siguro relax sila, but for now, siguro asahan na namin na other teams will be really focusing on how they can beat us.”
“We’re still a work in progress, but slowly, you can see some glitter with our team and hopefully it develops to its full potential,” he added.
Mac Belo has been the biggest reason for the Elite’s emergence, living up to expectations early in his pro career by averaging 21 points, 7.5 boards, 1.5 steals, one block, and one assist in 35 minutes in his first two games.
The rookie sensation faces fellow Far Eastern University product and Gilas cadet standout Roger Pogoy, who showed maturity beyond his years in the Texters’ win over the Gin Kings.
GlobalPort seeks to join the leaders and a second straight win as it takes on Star in the second game of the doubleheader at 7 o’clock.