LIKE Cupid with his arrows, Blackwater struck a barrage three-pointers in the endgame that left Mahindra stunned on Valentine’s Day with a 110-102 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Reil Cervantes and Art dela Cruz were on target from deep, conspiring late to turn a close battle into a one-sided affair for the Elite, who got on the winning track after starting the conference on the wrong foot.
But it was the Elite's stand on the defensive end that proved more of a factor if you ask coach Leo Isaac.
“The challenge was for everybody to play honest defense,” said Isaac, whose team’s frontline was shorthanded with JP Erram out after hitting his head in last game.
Carlo Lastimosa sustained his splendid form, while import MJ Rhett bounced back from a so-so debut as the Elite tied their victims with an even 1-1 win-loss record.
The Elite still trailed, 86-85, before connecting from long distance, including two each from Cervantes and Dela Cruz to take the lead for good.
Cervantes came off the bench and wound up firing 18 of his season-high-tying 24 points in the payoff period, while Dela Cruz added 19 points, four boards, and four steals.
Lastimosa, coming off a 39-point outing, tallied 26 points, while Rhett registered 19 points, 18 boards as he anchored the Elite’s frontline.
Augustus Glichrist also turned more aggressive after being hesistant in his debut for Mahindra, finishing with 34 points and 14 boards in 43 minutes.
Blackwater 110 – Lastimosa 26, Cervantes 24, Dela Cruz 19, Rhett 19, Reyes 12, Cortez 5, Gamalinda 2, Golla 2, Bulawan 1, Canada 0
Mahindra 102 – Gilchrist 34, Dehesa 14, Canaleta 13, Ramos 10, Yee 8, Jaime 7, Bagatsing 5, Pinto 5, Digregorio 2, Guinto 2, Revilla 2, Alvarez 0, Hubalde 0
Quarterscores: 25-20, 43-49, 77-75, 110-102