A freak accident involving one of its top gunners and injuries to its big men spoiled Blackwater’s debut in the PBA playoffs.
Coach Leo Isaac said the absence of Reil Cervantes, James Sena, and Gilbert Bulawan hurt the Elite’s campaign in their Philippine Cup quarterfinals campaign as they were ousted by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 95-90, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Of the three, the case of Cervantes appears to be the odd one.
The wingman out of Far Eastern University was injured on Christmas eve after the big toe on his right foot was pinned by a heavy chair.
“Nabagsakan ‘yung big toe niya ng silya, and it could be a solid one kasi three-fourth of the nail ang natanggal,” Isaac related. “Dumating siya sa practice (Christmas Day) magang-maga yung paa.
“Ang advice ng team doctor, kailangan bunutin yung natitirang kuko para maiwasan yung infection.”
Without Cervantes, the Elite lost a player averaging 17.0 points per game. He is coming off a 24-point performance in Blackwater’s all-important win over Mahindra during the final day of the all-Filipino conference elimination.
“Easily, we lost a player who just scored 24 points prior to our game against Rain or Shine,” said team owner Dioceldo Sy. “That’s why I told the coaching staff, san natin kukunin yung 17 points na nawala sa atin?”
Sena, meanwhile, will be out of for four to six weeks as he suffered a hairline fracture on his foot, while Bulawan has a problem in his muscle in the right arm.
Without a steady force inside, Isaac admitted the Elite were no match to the Elasto Painters.
“Their absence (big men) took its toll on us. We can’t match up with Almazan, Belga, and Quinahan,” he said.