BLACKWATER survived a tough test in Alaska, hacking out a 103-100 victory to move to the upper half of the PBA Philippine Cup standings on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Roi Sumang sparked the turnaround, firing 19 points in 22 minutes off the bench, while Mac Belo also hit some crucial shots down the stretch before the Elite weathered a late stand by the Aces.
The Elite snapped a two-game skid as they moved two spots up to fifth after notching their fifth win in nine games, moving a half-game behind second-placers Rain or Shine and GlobalPort.
The result spoiled the resurgent performance of JVee Casio, who scored 13 of his 23 points in the payoff period as he conspired with Calvin Abueva to lead the Aces’ bid to regain their early lead.
The comeback fell short as they dropped to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
“We really prepared hard for this game,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said. “Isa lang sinabi namin before the game: if we want to beat Alaska, we’ve got to have the same or more energy than they have.”
The Elite heeded their coach’s call in the second half as they erased a nine-point third-quarter deficit.
Sumang, who registered all but two of his total output in the second half, scored on a strong drive and completed a three-point play that gave the Elite a 98-91 lead with one minute and 21 seconds left.
The Aces, however, refused to go down without a fight as they rallied to pull to within a point, 101-100, after an Abueva layoff of Casio.
But Denok Miranda canned two pressure-packed charities, before Abueva missed a contested triple off a long inbound pass as the Elite held on.
Blackwater 103 - Belo 21, Sumang 19, Buenafe 16, Dela Cruz 13, Aguilar 10, Sena 8, Cervantes 6, Miranda 4, Pinto 4, Ababou 2, Pascual 0, Gamalinda 0, Banal 0.
Alaska 100 - Abueva 23, Casio 23, Manuel 13, Racal 9, Mendoza 7, Hontiveros 6, Exciminiano 6, Jazul 4, Cruz 4, Thoss 2, Pascual 2, Dela Cruz 1.
Quarterscores: 22-28, 45-49, 76-71, 103-100.