BLACKWATER sent Kia crashing back to earth, handing the Carnival a 115-104 beating in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Marcus Douthit stood his ground against behemoth PJ Ramos, while Brian Heruela and Sunday Salvacion delivered as well for the Elite, who put a halt to the Carnival’s two-game winning streak against the league’s perennial contenders that earned them the tag as giant slayers.
The Elite, who notched just their second win in eight games, also denied the Carnival (3-5) a fitting sendoff for Manny Pacquiao, who attended his last game as playing-coach before flying to US to train for his upcoming megafight against Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao chose not to play after arriving at the venue late, but called the shots from the sidelines.
“What’s a sweeter way (to get your second win) than beating the team that is beating the (top) teams in the PBA?” Elite coach Leo Isaac said after his team also avenged a loss to Kia in the season’s first game at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Heruela flirted with a triple-double, tallying a career-high 27 points (9-of-14 from the field, 8-of-8 from the foul line), eight rebounds, and seven assists, on top of one steal and one block in 39 minutes.
The rookie point guard conspired with the 36-year-old Salvacion, who flashed his vintage form by pumping in 22 points, anchored on four three-pointers, five rebounds, and one assist in 33 minutes off the bench.
Both locals provided solid support to 6-foot-11 import Douthit, who gave up three inches to Kia counterpart Ramos, but still scattered 24 points, 13 boards, six assists, and five blocks with just one minute of rest.
The Elite’s collective effort was more than sufficient to negate Ramos’ explosion after the Puerto Rican giant fell just a point shy of reaching the 50-point plateau, a league season-high.
Three of Ramos’ points was from beyond the arc, the game’s first three points that sparked Kia’s 11-run, before the Elite quickly turned the game around to end up with an eight-point lead after the opening period.
The Elite cruised from there, leading by as many as 18 points in the second quarter and never allowing the Carnival to come closer than seven points in the payoff period.
BLACKWATER 115 – Heruela 27, Douthit 24, Salvacion 22, Gamalinda 10, Laure 7, Reyes 6, Erram 6, Bulawan 6, Ballesteros 4, Faundo 2, Celiz 1
KIA 104 – Ramos 49, Avenido 10, Cervantes 9, Bagatsing 9, Thiele 8, Revilla 8, Buensuceso 3, Cawaling 2, Dehesa 2, Pascual 2, Yee 2, Poligrates 0, Alvarez 0
Quarterscores: 29-21, 56-42, 83-69, 115-104