BLACKWATER gained statistical and morale boost from Bill Walker as it held off Phoenix, 92-86, to barge into the win column in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Walker, the former NLEX import who replaced the injured Trevis Simpson, made an immediate impact in his debut for the Elite before overcoming cramps down the stretch, while Mike DiGregorio remained consistent for his team offensively.
On defense, the Elite put the clamps on Phoenix import Eugene Phelps, who was held to just 13 points on just 13 attempts in 40 minutes after letting the prolific import explode for 53 points in their meeting in the Commissioner’s Cup.
As a result, the Elite snapped a three-game skid – and six straight losses dating back to last conference, while handing the Fuel Masters their third loss in five games.
“Finally we were able to get the win and special thanks to our new import, Mr. Henry Walker, who gave the inspiration for everybody to come out as winners,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said.
Walker registered 32 points, 15 boards, five assists, and one steal in 42 minutes, saving his best for last as he scored 14 of his output in the final frame – even when he was starting to feel his legs tighten with still nine minutes left in the game.
Walker last two points came from the charity stripe that gave the Elite a four-point, two-possessoin lead with eight seconds left to ice the game.
DiGregorio, one of the team’s few bright spots in its skid, reset his career-high to 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting, three boards, one assist, and one steal against only one turnover in 39 minutes of play.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Fuel Masters, but no one reached the 20-point barreier as RJ Jazul and Mark Borboran chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, in a losing effort.
BLACKWATER 92 – Walker 32, Digregorio 28, Gamalinda 9, Canaleta 5, Aguilar 5, Erram 4, Cruz 3, Miranda 3, Sumang 3, Belo 0, Banal 0, Cervantes 0, Sena 0, Pascual 0
PHOENIX 86 – Phelps 13, Jazul 13, Borboran 12, W. Wilson 11, Alolino 10, Baguio 8, Intal 8, Eriobu 7, Dehesa 2, Kramer 2, Lanete 0, J. Wilson 0
Quarterscores: 23-32, 51-47, 66-66, 92-86