UNLIKE the earthquake that was felt early in the game, Blackwater proved steady down the stretch as it held off GlobalPort, 118-113, to barge into the win column of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
In a battle between two winless teams, it was the Elite who simply showed more desire to get out of the slump as they shrugged off a late stand by the Batang Pier to register their first win in five games.
Greg Smith anchored the attack, tallying 40 points, 19 boards, and four assists in 41 minutes, while Mike DiGregorio sparked the local crew as the Elite spoiled the debut of new GlobalPort import Malcolm White who saw his team suffer a fourth straight setback.
“After four heartbreaking losses, finally we were able to hold our own,” Blackwater coach Leo Isaac said. “This time we played a lot smarter in the crucial minutes.”
“Hopefully this boosts our morale and makes us a better team,” he added as his team is still reeling from the absence of top young forwards Art dela Cruz and Mac Belo.
DiGregorio picked up the slack among the locals, tallying 20 points – two shy of his career-high, capped by two charities that made it a two-possession ballgame and ended up to be the final score.
But it was Smith who carried most of the load, scoring on a hook off a goaltending from White that ended eight unanswered points from the Batang Pier, the last three from a Terrence Romeo triple that pulled them to within one.
That was one of an impressive nine treys from Romeo on the way to scattering 35 points on a more efficient 13-of-18 shooting from the field, along with four boards, and four assists in 30 minutes.
White, who replaced Sean Williams, registered 33 points, 17 boards, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in 36 minutes in his debut.
BLACKWATER 118 – Smith 40, Digregorio 18, Cervantes 14, Sena 10, Pinto 9, Buenafe 9, Canaleta 7, Sumang 5, Gamalinda 3, Aguilar 2, Cruz 1, Pascual 0
GLOBALPORT 113 – Romeo 35, White 33, Pringle 13, Cortez 13, Quinahan 7, Pennisi 5, Pessumal 3, Ababou 2, Aban 2, Forrester 0, Mamaril 0
Quarterscores: 31-26, 57-57, 88-95, 118-113