ITS confidence boosted after beating powerhouse San Miguel Beer, expansion team Blackwater shoots for its first-ever back-to-back wins in the PBA when it faces winless NLEX in the Commissioner’s Cup on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elite ended a string of 14 losses dating back to the season-opening Philippine Cup when it stunned the reigning All-Filipino champion, 90-87, last week.
The breakthrough win no doubt, lifted the morale of the Blackwater team, according to coach Leo Isaac.
“Expected na talagang papalo ang confidence level ng mga players kasi ang kailangan lang naman talaga namin eh breakout game para mag-level up ang confidence,” he said.
The Blackwater-NLEX tiff begins at 4:15 p.m.
Gilas Pilipinas naturalized big man Marcus Douthit will be rejoining the Elite (1-3) after leaving for the United States shortly after the game against the Beermen to attend to some personal matters.
Isaac admitted Douthit, the team’s temporary import as original choice Chris Charles continue to recover from injury, has been providing not just the points and rebounds, but more importantly, the leadership to a young Blackwater franchise.
“Yung leadership niya (Douthit) malaking bagay sa mga players. He’s definitely inspiring the players,” said Isaac.
Then 6-foot-10 Douthit averaged 21.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3.0 blocks in the three games he played for the Elite.
The Road Warriors though, are also looking to nail their first win as they lost their first three games of the tournament.
“We’re trying to improve as a team because we know that all our players are just starting to adapt to our system,” said coach Boyet Fernandez.
Fernandez is also confident embattled import Al Thornton will be able to bounce back strong after a sub-par performance in NLEX’s 25-point blowout at the hands of defending champion Purefoods.
Thornton, who plays with a thick padding covering the metallic knee brace, continues to undergo knee strengthening according to Fernandez.
The former Los Angeles Clippers forward averages 26.0 points and 11.0 rebounds this conference, but only had 11 against the Hotshots.