ANTIPOLO – Blackwater showed it belongs in the playoffs as it eliminated a gritty GlobalPort, 118-107, to complete the playoff cast in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night at the Ynares Center.
The Elite pounced on the ejection of Terrence Romeo late in the first half, before overcoming a late stand by the desperate Batang Pier on the way to tallying their fifth win in 10 games to clinch a playoff berth.
The result also meant that Star, even before playing TNT Katropa in the day’s main game, and idle Rain or Shine are through to the quarterfinals.
The Batang Pier fought back from a 21-point deficit, nudging to within six points down the stretch, only to fall short and see their season come to an end, bringing Alaska with them in their early vacation in the process.
“The pre-game instructions were to keep it simple and avoid complications by simply winning this game,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said. “Every instruction was geared toward that.”
“Good thing we were able to withstand Global’s comeback in the fourth quarter,” he added.
Newcomer Allein Maliksi heeded his coach’s call as he shone in his debut with 22 points, five boards, one assist, and one steal in 34 minutes as a starter to lead a balanced attack that saw eight players scoring at least eight points each.
Bill Walker, who frustrated Romeo with his defense on the way to the GlobalPort superstar getting ejected in the second quarter, flirted with a triple-double of 19 points, 13 boards, and nine assists on top of five steals, and five blocks with less than a minute of rest.
Roi Sumang knocked down four triples, while Mike DiGregorio added four treys to lead the three-point party for the Elite drained 15 of their 31 three-pointers as a unit.
Despite the Elite’s offensive explosion, the Batang Pier still refused to go down without a fight, clawing back and cutting the deficit to just 105-111 after Sean Anthony converted a stab with a little less than two minutes to go, only for the GlobalPort forward to allow Walker to score on an easy drive off a timeout on the other end.
Murphy Holloway led the Batang Pier with 28 points, 23 boards, three steals, and one block in 45 minutes that went for naught.
BLACKWATER 118 – Maliksi 22, Sumang 21, Walker 19, Digregorio 16, Marcelo 13, Erram 11, Belo 8, Pinto 8, Canaleta 0, Cruz 0
GLOBALPORT 107 – Holloway 28, Pringle 27, Romeo 13, Baracael 11, Anthony 8, Guinto 6, Cortez 6, Arana 4, Cardona 4, Hubalde 0, Mamaril 0
Quarterscores: 31-29, 62-50, 92-77, 118-107