Resurgent Barako Bull ousts Blackwater from playoff picture with ninth successive loss
Blackwater veteran Eddie Laure and Philip Paredes of Barako Bull battle for ball possession. Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO CITY - Barako Bull played well on both ends of the floor to hack out an easy 97-82 victory that knocked expansion squad Blackwater out of contention in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Center.

The Energy, who opened the season with five straight losses, have now won three of their last four games, boosting their bid for a place in the 10-team playoffs of the all-Filipino conference.

“I thought we did a good job defensively and we started strong,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal. “We limited them (Elite) to 30 points in the first half, so I thought that was the story of the game.”

On the other hand, the Elite dropped out of the playoff race in their maiden campaign in the PBA after suffering their ninth straight defeat.

Sophomore guard RR Garcia poured in 11 of his team-high 16 points to lead Barako Bull, which took a 41-30 halftime lead before pulling away to margins as big as 70-44.

Carlo Lastimosa also had 16 markers while rookie big man Jake Pascual added 13 and four boards for the Energy.

Bryan Faundo was one of the few bright spots for Blackwater when he scored a career-high 23 points on top of 11 rebounds. Recently activated rookie guard Brian Heruela also had a career-high 19 points, six assists and three rebounds in his third game with the Elite.

The scores:

Barako Bull 97 - Garcia 16, Lastimosa 16, Pascual 13, Miranda 9, Intal 9, Pennisi 9, Salva 6, Lanete 6, Marcelo 5, Wilson 4, Salvador 2, Paredes 2, Hubalde 0.

Blackwater 82 - Faundo 23, Heruela 19, Nuyles 12, Gamalinda 8, Laure 6, Menor 4, Timberlake 3, Erram 2, Rodriguez 2, Ballesteros 2, Celiz 1, Tiongson 0, Artadi 0, Austria 0.

Quarterscores: 22-9, 41-30, 72-48, 97-82

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