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    Blackwater takes out lowly KIA to stay in the running for PBA playoff berth

    Feb 16, 2018
    Blackwater guard Nards Pinto stretches for a layup against KIA. Jerome Ascano

    BLACKWATER showed Kia how an expansion team should be developed, rolling to a 95-76 victory to enhance its playoff bid in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Joining the league the same time in 2014, the Elite and the Picanto have built their teams differently, with Blackwater’s way proving to be more effective as evidenced by their latest matchup.

    The Elite saw the cellar-dwelling Picanto engage them in a close battle before  breaking away in the third quarter to coast to their fourth in nine games to claim a piece of eighth spot with Phoenix.

    Mike Digregorio sustained his hot shooting, while Poy Erram was a force down low once again as the Elite followed up their upset win over San Miguel Beer by handing the Picanto their eighth loss in nine games to eliminate them from contention.

    “We would want to keep our hopes alive and that could only happen if we could continue our winning ways,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said.

    “That win against San Miguel was like a shot in the arm and with this convincing win against Kia, maybe we can go on and move up to the next level in terms of confidence, maturity, and all things that could add up to our game on Sunday,” he added of their matchup against NLEX.

    Indeed, the Elite picked up form where they left off after a stunning 106-96 win over SMB last week, sitting in the driver’s seat against the Picanto most of the way before breaking away in the second half and seeing their lead grow to as many as 26 late in the game.

    Continue reading below ↓

    Digregorio registered 21 points, including 14 in the third quarter, and knocked down three treys, compounding his offense with three boards, three assists, and one steal in 33 minutes, while Erram pumped in 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds, three assists, and one blocks in 37 minutes.

    Allein Maliksi was the other Blackwater player in double-digit scoring with 14 markers on top of six boards, three assists, and one steal, without committing a single turnover in 25 minutes as a starter.

    Ronald Tubid flashes his vintage form, scoring a game-high 22 points, including 14 in the second frame, that went with eight boards and one steal, while Reden Celda added 21 points and five caroms that went to waste for Kia.

    The scores:

    BLACKWATER 95 — DiGregorio 21, Erram 17, Maliksi 14, Sena 9, Belo 8, Marcelo 8, Cruz 5, Pinto 5, Jose 4, Javier 3, Banal 1, Cortez 0, Neypes 0, Palma 0

    KIA 76 — Tubid 22, Celda 21, Corpuz 9, Lastimosa 8, McCarthy 6, Reyes 5, Camson 3, Khobuntin 2, Escoto 0, Galanza 0, Sara 0, Yee 0

    Quarterscores: 25-21, 47-41, 77-65, 95-76

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    Blackwater guard Nards Pinto stretches for a layup against KIA. Jerome Ascano
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