REIGNING champion Purefoods Star relied on its poise to whip Blackwater, 90-82, for the Hotshots' first back-to-back wins in the PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After seeing a 16-point Purefoods lead whittled down to just 53-52 on a layup by Alex Nuyles, PJ Simon converted successive fastbreak layups and a floating one-handed jumper as the Hotshots regained the upperhand, 67-56.
The six-foot veteran guard topscored for the Hotshots with 18 points, 10 in the third period as the four-time PBA champions booked their third win in six starts to tie idle Meralco and GlobalPort in the standings.
“It certainly wasn’t a scintillating performance on our part. We didn’t play all that well,” said Purefoods star coach Tim Cone. “But the good news is we got to 3-3. We need to build and see how far we can get over .500.”
Cone commended Blackwater counterpart Leo Isaac for finding ways to keep the game close in the second half before the expansion side simply lost steam in the end.
“You gotta give coach Leo the credit. I felt we could have stretched the lead and blown the game open, but they came fighting back every time,” noted Cone.
Surprisingly, the shorter Blackwater squad outrebounded the veteran Purefoods Star squad, 54-39, with Jason Ballesteros and Bryan faundo contributing 12 and 11 boards, respectively.
But what killed Blackwater’s chances for an upset was its eye-popping 23 turnovers, with rookie Brian Heruela accounting for seven.
"[Blackwater] missed some shots that could've gotten them over the hump, it could've been closer than it was," said Cone. "but the important thing is we gotta win by one point, anything else is pogi points."
Joe Devance scored 16 points, six assists and four rebounds for the Hotshots, while Allein Maliksi adding 11.
Faundo and Sunday Salvacion scored 14 points apiece to lead the Elite, who remain winless after seven games in their maiden PBA season.
Purefoods 90 - Simon 18, Devance 16, Maliksi 11, Melton 8, Mallari 8, Pingris 7, Taha 6, Barroca 6, Yap 6, Holstein 3, Reavis 1, Gaco 0, Matias 0, Allado 0.
Blackwater 82 - Faundo 14, Salvacion 14, Nuyles 12, Artadi 12, Ballesteros 8, Gamalinda 6, Heruela 5, Erram 4, Laure 4, Tiongson 3, Menor 0, Rodriguez 0, Timberlake 0, Celiz 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21, 46-39, 67-58, 90-82