New Blackwater import Keala King unmindful of pressure ahead of must-win PBA debut
Keala King makes his Blackwater debut against Phoenix on Wednesday. Jaime Campos

KEALA King has yet to play his first game in the PBA Governors Cup, but he’s already aware of what’s at stake when he makes his debut with the Elite on Wednesday.

It’s going to be do-or-die for Blackwater’s reinforcement from here on beginning with the team’s match-up against Phoenix at the Ynares Centern in Antipolo as the team tries to stay in the race for a berth in the playoffs of the season-ending conference.

Blackwater is currently in the cellar with a 1-7 (win-loss) record, and a loss in its last three games will mean outright elimination for the expansion franchise.

King said he’s definitely ready for the challenge.

“I’m aware of it. If we get these last three wins we can probably make the playoffs and that’s very important to me,” said the import who replaced the injured Eric Dawson. “And right now, that’s all I’m focused on.”

Despite the greater odds facing Blackwater, King doesn’t feel any pressure for his part, especially with the Elite at the bottom of the 12-team standings.

“We’re the underdogs, so we don’t have pressure,” he admitted. “All I wanna do is go out there and really play hard.”

King was at ringside when Phoenix defeated Star in its last game, 106-93, and saw Phelps score a game-high 45 points and grab 17 rebounds.

From the looks of it, he knows the Elite will have their hands full going up against the explosive Fuel Masters import, who played in the same college at Long Beach State.

“Right now I just know who’s to stop. Eugene is a big presence on the post,” he said. “I kinda know how he plays. I told coach as soon as I saw him today like we’re gonna have to double him.”


But as long as the Elite play according to form, King knows Blackwater will always have a shot at a playoff berth.

“We’ll just have to guard him (Phelps) and guard their shooters and we’ll be fine,” said King.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos