BOCAUE, Bulacan – Leo Isaac rued Blackwater practically shot itself in the foot after wasting a 13-point first half lead and allowing Kia Motors to outhustle them on the way to an 80-66 victory on Sunday in the two teams' PBA debut at the Philippine Arena.
Isaac, who was holed up inside the team’s dugout with his staff after the humiliating loss, pointed to the 29 turnovers the Elite committed which he said reflected the rookie team's lack of focus.
“Di kami nagulat sa nilaro nila (Sorentos), nagulat ako sa nilaro namin,” said a dejected Isaac. “Hanggang ngayon nga, I’m asking my assistant coaches ano ang pagbabago or mali na ginawa namin.
"We were physically present here but not mentally, as far as game focus is concerned.”
Sophomore wingman Alex Nuyles, rookie guard Juami Tiongson, veteran playmaker Paul Artadi and forward Larry Rodriguez combined for 18 turnovers mostly coming in the second half when KIA pulled away.
Isaac said Kia’s resolute defense spelled the big difference in the second half, saying playing coach Manny Pacquiao’s presence provided the inspiration for the Sorentos.
“They (Sorentos) played very well. They were very loose in the four quarters we played them and we felt they deserve to win. Coach Manny’s players played well,” he said.
The Blackwater coach said they have four days to get their acts together before facing powerhouse Rain or Shine on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s (loss) a very big lesson for us and we have to learn from it because no team would just give you a win in a basketball game,” said Isaac.