Carnival eye share of second spot as Elite try to move out of cellar
Coaches coach Leo Isaac of Blackwater and Chito Victolero of Kia collide. Jerome Ascano

KIA Motors guns for a share of second spot, while Blackwater tries to climb out of the cellar in a battle of expansion squads on Tuesday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Coming off a morale-boosting 85-82 win over NLEX, KIA will be shooting for its third win in four starts in the 4:15 p.m. match against Blackwater, which has only one win in four games.

Lead assistant coach Chito Victolero is pleased to see the Carnival earn morale-boosting wins and sit just behind unbeaten league leader Barako Bull and second-running Alaska with a third of the eliminations gone.

“Iyung chemistry, yun talaga ang pinagtrabahuhan namin sa start ng conference kaya ngayon medyo mataas ang confidence nila because they believe we can win games and we can compete in the PBA,” said Victolero.

Senegalese import Hamady NDiyae will again be leading KIA’s defense, with a tournament-best average of 4.0 blocks per game, but for Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, the key to beating the Carnival is putting a body on LA Revilla.

The Carnival playmaker is averaging career-best numbers of 13.6 points, 6.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds this conference.

“Si LA kasi ang nagdi-dictate ng plays nila. Siya kasi ang nagki-create and he gets everybody involved so we need to limit his effectiveness,” said Isaac.

Blackwater made the win column by pulling off a king-sized 83-77 upset against Barangay Ginebra more than a week ago in Dipolog City.

Now the Elite will be gunning for the franchise’s first ever back-to-back wins in its maiden season in the PBA.

Reil Cervantes, hero in the Elite’s win, will be facing his former team for the first time this season since being traded to the Carnival late in the Commissioner’s Cup for Alex Nuyles.

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