BLACKWATER claimed the scalp of playoff-bound Meralco, 84-72, to end its PBA Commissioner’s Cup stint on a winning note on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Marcus Douthit and his frontcourt partner JP Erram provided the solid defensive presence for the Elite, who turned a shaky three-point lead in the first period into a 70-48 bubble early in the last quarter.
The 6-foot-10 Douthit, loaned to the Elite by Gilas Pilipinas, banged in 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and added two steals to lead the expansion squad.
On the other hand, the 6-foot-7 Erram tallied a PBA career-high 21 points, eight rebounds and four blocks to help the Elite finish the mid-season conference with a 3-8 record.
“Going into this game, regardless of being eliminated, we just want to continue gaining more experience and learning more because I told my players, 'We just give our 100 percent,'” said Blackwater Leo Isaac.
“This is part of the building process that we are undergoing. Hopefully, we can continue this into the third conference.”
Meralco ended the eliminations with a 6-5 record. The Bolts face sister team NLEX Road Warriors in a best-of-three quarterfinal series beginning this Friday.
Isaac said the coaching staff is set to meet with management on Friday to discuss the team’s upcoming import for the season-ending Governors Cup.
The veteran coach said initially, they have plans to bring back Douthit, but everything boils down to what will be decided late this week.
“So at the moment, wala pang decision. But management will meet with the coaches on Friday and we hope to come up with a decision,” he added.
Isaac said if plans don’t miscarry, they intend to acquire a reinforcement from one of the Middle East teams for the third conference.
“May prospects na din kami on getting an Asian import,” he said. "We had some names on our list, medyo matunog 'yun but if it pushes through, he’s a player from the Middle East. Di ito 'yung nasa isip natin na karaniwang Chinese, Korean or Japanese.”
All 12 PBA teams will have the option to tap an Asian reinforcement not taller than 6-3 for the season's final tournament.
Blackwater 84 - Douthit 27, Erram 21, Cervantes 13, Heruela 7, Acuna 6, Bulawan 5, Gamalinda 3, Laure 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Golla 0.
Meralco 72 - Dillinger 15, Anthony 13, Cortez 13, Davis 11, Wilson 7, Ferriols 5, Caram 3, Reyes 2, David 2, Buenafe 1, Ildefonso 0, Sena 0, Hugnatan 0, Macapagal 0.
Quarterscores: 26-23, 50-40, 66-46, 84-72