After a slow start in the PBA Commissioner's and failing to get enough from a souped-up lineup expected to do well this season, the franchise let go of longtime coach Leo Isaac with a heavy heart on Monday.
Reliable sources confirmed to SPIN.ph the parting of ways between Isaac and the team but refused to be identified pending an official announcement from management
Isaac held his last practice with the Elite the morning after the franchise went down at the hands of the Alaska Aces, 93-74, for their third straight loss in just a week.
In all, the team lost by an average margin of 17.3 points.
Along with Isaac, also let go by Blackwater was team manager Johnson Martinez.
"I know Leo was hurt," said the source about the hard decision management had taken on the only coach the Elite have had in three-plus seasons in the pro league.
"But the team has no choice. The players just seem to be going through the motions, lacking in spirit like an old, non-carbonated Coke."
Blackwater PBA Board representative Siiman Sy later disclosed meeting with Isaac to break the sad news.
"It was a very sad discussion but cordial at the same time," he said. "Coach Leo was surprised. He didn't see it coming."
Blackwater later announced that Bong Ramos, a former Isaac deputy who is coming off a coaching stint in Indonesia, has been named new head coach.
Not a few people however, expected the Elite to overachieve this season especially behind a rejigged roster that finally steered the franchise to a first-ever playoff appearance last year during the Governors Cup.
Unfortunately, the team fell short of making a playoff return in the season-opening Philippine Cup despite a solid starting five that features Poy Erram, Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Mike Digregorio, and Roi Sumang, plus rookie Raymar Jose, Dave Marcelo, and Nard Pinto coming off the bench.
It didn't help, too, that Blackwater kicked off its second conference campaign with a 28-point blowout loss to Columbian Dyip.
The team also trailed by large margins during its game against Phoenix and Alaska, respectively.
In all, Isaac had a 29-88 (win-loss) record in his four-year stay at Blackwater, including a 1-3 playoff record.
Isaac and Blackwater go a long way, dating back to their days in the PBA D-League where the former Ginebra player steered the team to the 2013 Foundation Cup title by beatng the highly-favored NLEX Road Warriors.