THE disappointing end to Blackwater’s campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup didn’t stop interim coach Aris Dimaunahan from hailing the effort of the Elite.
Moments after Blackwater was eliminated after losing to Rain or Shine in Game Three, 85-83, on Thursday night, Dimaunahan expressed pride over the Elite's run to the quarterfinals as third seed after finishing dead last in the Philippine Cup.
“I’m very, very proud sa ginawa nila,” Dimaunahan said. “’Yung buong team namin this conference, from dead last last conference and ending up as third seed, hats off ako sa kanila. Thankful ako for letting me coach them.”
Blackwater's resurgence coincided with the arrival of top rookie Bobby Ray Parks after wrapping up his stint with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, and Roi Sumang also showed improvement as the Elite clinched third place entering the quarterfinals with a 7-4 card.
Dimaunahan said the whole team including the coaching staff definitely learned a lot from the experience of bowing out against a seasoned team in Rain or Shine, which was seeded sixth in the quarterfinals.
Too bad they let the Elasto Painters off the hook.
“I thought we got them on the ropes again twice. But we let it slip away. Probably that’s my fault also for probably mishandling this series. Learning from my point of view na we are really a young team,” he said.
“But we are all hungry for excellence. I thought we were a play or defensive stop away from getting there to the semifinals,” said Dimaunahan.
Dimaunahan said the team will take a lengthy rest before preparing for the Governors’ Cup where they hope to put up a better performance.
“Again I have to thank my bosses, Boss Dioceldo (Sy) and Silliman (Sy) for letting me coach the way I coach. Sana mas gumaling pa ‘yung team namin in the coming conference,” said Dimaunahan.