MACAU – Mike DiGregorio couldn’t be prouder with how Blackwater is fighting so far in the Asia League Super 8 2018.
Despite the contrasting results in the first two games, the Fil-Italian sniper is happy with how the team have positioned themselves, now one win away from advancing to the next round. Standing between them and the semifinals is Japan’s Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka.
“We're fighting,” said DiGregorio.
“We won the first game comfortably and we were right there against China. So against Japan, we plan on winning.”
DiGregorio said that lessons should be taken from the squad’s 88-69 defeat to Guangzhou Long Lions on Wednesday, in a game where Blackwater was silenced for over six minutes in the pivotal fourth quarter.
“They got a little momentum going and they started to figure out our zones, so credit to them. There was a period where we were down by just four and we were talking that this was the game right here. Either we keep it close to the end and we have a chance, or they'll stretch it. And that's what they did, they stretched it further,” he said.
Still, DiGregorio is focused on the positive things his team is doing in this offseason. He is pleased to see the Elite, which finished the first two conferences of the PBA near the cellar, show grit and keep in step with a contender team in China like the Long Lions.
“I'm proud of the way we fought, but (Guangzhou) came through in the end and made plays. I don't want to discredit them because obviously they're a good team, but we were right there with them. I think talent for talent, we stack up fine with them,” he said after leading his crew with 13 points, six rebounds, and two assists.
And what better way for Blackwater to prove that point than to advance to the crossover semifinals.
“We didn't come here to not advance. We're gonna come and win,” he said. “I'm confident. As long as the rims are 10-feet high and the ball still bounces, we're confident. We have all the confidence in the world to win. We're building towards the Governors' Cup so I think we have the team to make noise in the Governors' Cup and also ready advance.”