THREE straight blowout losses apparently were too much for Blackwater.
After losing their first three games in the PBA Governors Cup by an average margin of 21.3 points, coach Leo Isaac said the experience definitely toughened up the Elite for their road game against crowd darling Barangay Ginebra.
Getting big contributions from big men Reil Cervantes and Bambam Gamalinda along with import Marcus Douthit, the Elite pulled off a 83-77 win over the Kings in a Petron Saturday Special in Dipolog City.
“It was good (learning experience), especially for our players to withstand the comeback of Ginebra. It was a learning process on our part after losing three straight,” Isaac told Spin.ph following the upset win.
“It (the win over Ginebra) showed the character of our players.”
With Ginebra still missing big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, Isaac felt the road game was the Elite’s best chance to get out of the rut.
A good practice also helped, Isaac added.
“We had a good practice yesterday (Friday). Everybody was enjoying. It was quite sometime na yung ganung klaseng atmosphere sa practice,” said Isaac, who, ironically, won three championships as a Ginebra player under the playing-coach Robert Jaworski, Sr from 1986 to 1992.
“But they lacked the size kanina. Wala pa rin si Greg and Japeth. Only Dorian (Pena), (Dave) Marcelo, and (Rodney) Brondial played for them (at the front court).”
With Ginebra missing its ‘Twin Towers,’ Douthit banged in 24 points, while Gamalinda scored on numerous uncontested layups.
Cervantes, Ginebra's pick in the 2011 rookie draft at ninth overall, hurt the Kings from the outside by knocking down two three-pointers, along with a 10-footer late in the game to help turn the tables on the league’s most popular ballclub.
“In an out of town game, mahirap for the losing team when you fly back to Manila dahil kasama mo ang kabilang team eh (in the airplane). Ayoko yung pagsakay sa eroplano, nakayuko kami. We just want to enjoy the flight,” he said.
The win helped Blackwater tie Ginebra for 10th to 11th spots with similar 1-3 slates.