BLACKWATER underlined its credential as a legitimate contender in the PBA Philippine Cup as it stunned Barangay Ginebra, 94-77, on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Eager to prove they’re no pushovers anymore, the Elite led for most of the game against the back-to-back Governors’ Cup champions before unleashing a late salvo that clinched their second straight win after starting the season with a loss.
Poy Erram held the fort against the Gin Kings’ twin towers as he registered 22 points, 11 boards, and four blocks, while Mac Belo and Allein Maliksi knocked down the biggest baskets down the stretch as the Elite handed the Gin Kings’ their first loss in three games to tie their victims in the standings.
“I told my team that it’s going to be something special if we will be able to hand Ginebra its first loss,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said. “Luckily we were able to do what we planned.”
“I’d like to commend some of our players: Poy Erram who stood his ground against Gregh Slaughter. Mike Cortez controlled the tempo, and Allein Maliksi provided some crucial points together with Mac Belo,” he added.
As a result, the Elite registered their first-ever win over the Gin Kings in an all-Filipino conference and just the second in 10 meetings overall, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Belo buried two dagger treys in the payoff period as he pumped in 22 points in all, on top of seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals, in 30 minutes as a starter.
Maliksi chipped in 17 points, including eight in the final frame, along with seven boards, three assists, and two steals, without committing a single turnover in almost 26 minutes off the bench.
The Elite also delivered defensively as they held the Gin Kings to just 36.7-perecent shooting on 29-of-79 shots.
Slaughter led the Gin Kings with 20 points and 10 boards, while LA Tenorio added 16 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals that went for naught.
BLACKWATER 94 – Erram 22, Belo 22, Maliksi 17, Jose 8, DiGregorio 8, Sena 7, Cortez 4, Palma 4, Marcelo 2, Pinto 0, Cruz 0, Sumang 0
GINEBRA 77 – Slaughter 20, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 14, Thompson 12, Cruz 4, Taha 4, Caguioa 3, Ferrer 2, Mariano 2, Wilson 0, R. Aguilar 0
Quarterscores: 19-19, 41-33, 64-61, 94-77