MACAU – Every point matters, and that truth took Blackwater out of the playoff picture in the Asia League Super 8.
A seemingly harmless garbage-time basket by Guangzhou big man Zheng Zhun in the Elite’s 88-69 defeat to the Long Lions on Wednesday came back to haunt the Filipino side as they missed out on the crossover semifinals after the tiebreak.
Coach Bong Ramos knew it, relating, “Naka-shoot pa kasi yung China sa dulo nung game namin. Sinabihan ko na ang mga players na huwag palayuin, kaso tinira pa nung 7-footer kaya naging 19 yung lamang sa amin.”
Though the Group B saw three teams locked in a three-way tie for first place, it was Guangzhou (plus-14) and Seoul Samsung Thunders (minus-6) which earned the nod to progress, sending Blackwater (minus-8) out of the tourney.
It was the second time this year that the quotient tiebreak worked against the Elite’s favor. Back in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, they logged a 5-6 record but ultimately fell out of the playoffs after having the inferior quotient to GlobalPort, TNT, and Phoenix, bumping them off and ending their conference at 10th place.
For Ramos, though, he’s happy with the lessons his team picked up in their offseason outings for the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup as he saw great strides from the likes of bigs JP Erram, Mac Belo, and Raymar Jose, as well as guards Roi Sumang, Paul Zamar, and Ael Banal.
“Na-achieve namin yung dalawang panalo pero di lang kami pinalad sa quotient. Sa amin, lesson ito na hindi kami pwedeng huminto habang hindi nagba-buzzer kasi sa PBA, ginagamit din yung quotient so dapat alisto kami doon,” he said. “Ako naman, sabi ko lang naman sa mga players, you did your part. It’s up to the Lord if He will allow us to go to the next round. Good experience pa rin.”
Coming to the season-ending conference on a clean slate, Ramos is optimistic that Blackwater has everything it can to once again compete with the heavyweights of the PBA. But he knows that it will always be a continuing process for him to improve his team in every way he can.
“Syempre marami pa kaming kailangan iimprove, although meron nang mga points na nag-improve ang team, pati yung adjustment nila sa sistema na ginagawa ko offensively and defensively. Yung chemistry, maayos na," the Elite coach said.
"Siguro yung toughness na lang mentally, isa yun sa mga dapat iimprove, tapos yung level ng energy and enthusiasm sa loob ng court, yun ang dapat namin ayusin,” he added.