BLACKWATER pounced on an Alaska side that clearly has yet to move on from its finals heartbreak, hacking out a 107-101 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Elite maintained a double-digit cushion that was enough to weather a late comeback by the Aces and register their first back-to-back victories in the franchise's young history.
Alaska, on the other hand, lost its first successive game counting the last four matches it dropped to San Miguel in the last Philippine Cup Finals.
MJ Rhett played his best game for the Elite, putting up a triple-double of 18 points, 21 boards, and 10 assists, while Carlo Lastimosa sustained his fine offensive form by pumping in 24 points.
Reil Cervantes also continued his stellar play off the bench with 21 points in 20 minutes for the Elite, who took advantage of the absence of Rob Dozier as the Aces import nursed an unspecified injury.
“May halong swerte, but a win is a win,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said.
“It feels good to achieve this,” he added of their first winning streak. “We just have to continue on. Teams will definitely preparing for us. We just have to rise up to the occasion.”
Cervantes buried a three-pointer that gave the Elite their biggest lead at 90-74, before the Aces clawed back and nudged to within four points, 105-101, after a wide-open mid-range jumper by Vic Manuel, who fired 14 of his team-high 20 points in the payoff period.
Fellow star forward Calvin Abueva added eight of his 11 markers to lead the Aces’ late rally that fell short.
Blackwater 107 - Lastimosa 24, Cervantes 21, Rhett 18, Gamalinda 12, Cortez 10, Reyes 10, Dela Cruz 6, Canada 3, Erram 2, Tiongson 1, Golla 0.
Alaska 101 - Manuel 20, Thoss 18, Baguio 16, Abueva 11, Casio 10, Banchero 9, Dela Cruz 4, Racal 4, Eman 3, Jazul 3, Eximiniano 2, Dela Rosa 1, Vanlandingham 0.
Quarterscores: 27-23; 51-50; 80-70; 107-101.