PLAYOFFS inexperience obviously showed for Blackwater.
Coach Aris Dimaunahan lamented the Elite failed to keep their composure down the stretch and allowed Rain or Shine to come back and hammer out an 83-80 win on Saturday in Game One of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.
The Elite led 80-72 following a Bobby Ray Parks three-pointer with 1:32 left in the game at the Mall of Asia Arena and appeared on their way to taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
But the Elasto Painters still had a lot of fight left in them as they mounted a closing 11-0 run, capped by a pressure-packed triple by Rey Nambatac in the final 2.3 seconds to complete the come-from-behind win.
Dimaunahan pointed to Rain or Shine’s playoff experience as the factor that turned the game around in closing minutes.
“Rain or Shine is a veteran, smart, strong basketball team,” he said, adding it’s something Blackwater is just beginning to learn.
“This group of ours, siguro first time namin together. There are some guys who played in the playoffs, Allein Maliksi, Mike Cortez. But as a whole, it’s our first time to play in this kind of a series.”
Parks led the Elite with 20 points and six rebounds, returning import Greg Smith had a double-double of 16 points and 19 rebounds, while Maliksi and Mac Belo had 12 and 17, respectively.
For a while, everything looked to be going in favor of the Elite until the Elasto Painters pushed the right buttons to turn the game around in the stretch run.
“Learning experience,” admitted Dimaunahan.
Game 2 is set Tuesday and the Blackwater coach hopes the Elite will be able to rise from this heartbreaking loss.
“Hopefully, we could make the right adjustment and get a bounce back win on Tuesday,” he said.