BLACKWATER found another breakout performer while Bill Walker turned into a villain against his former team as the Elite pulled off a hard-earned 107-106 win over NLEX that resulted in a rare winning streak in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night.
Roi Sumang rose to the occasion with a career-high 32 points, while Walker turned to his defense down the stretch with a block on JR Quinahan that preserved the Elite’s second straight victory after starting the conference with three losses.
Walker delivered on offense as usual with 29 points and completed his solid showing with 15 boards, six assists, and one steal in almost 44 minutes of play against his former team, the emergent Road Warriors, who lost for only the second time in seven games.
“Henry again proved to be the inspiration for the whole team tonight,” Elite coach Leo Isaac said. “Everything is on the next level – their attitude, their confidence, and the togetherness of the players.”
“(And) we’re just happy to see him (Sumang) get out of his shell and showcase the real talent he has,” he added after seeing someone other than Mike DiGregorio put up a breakout performance. “Everybody on our team who plays well will get rewarded.”
The back-to-back wins thus already matched the longest win streak in the Elite’s young history in the league, doing it for the fourth time.
DiGregorio sustained his fine play, tallying 18 points highlighted by four triples that came with two rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 36 minutes.
But it was Sumang who left a bigger imprint in the result this time as he drained five treys, the last one giving the Elite a 107-101 lead with two minutes and 28 seconds left.
The Road Warriors, though, stayed within striking distance as they scored the next five points – a layup and a split free throw from Kevin Alas and a breakway layup from Aaron Fuller – to nudge to within a point.
Quinahan had a chance to put NLEX ahead in what started out as a fast-break, only for him to see the Elite defense catch up and force him putting up an adjusted mid-range jumper that Walker denied.
Alas led the Road Warriors with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists, and also gave his team a chance to steal the game, but missed a circus layup with four seconds left, while Fuller contributed just 13 points along with 11 caroms in 42 minutes.
BLACKWATER 107 – Sumang 32, Walker 29, Digregorio 18, Erram 8, Cruz 7, Pinto 7, Gamalinda 4, Sena 2, Miranda 0, Canaleta 0, Pascual 0
NLEX 106 – Alas 19, Quinahan 13, Fuller 13, Al-Hussaini 11, Tiongson 11, Fonacier 10, Baguio 7, Mallari 6, Soyud 6, Monfort 5, J. Villanueva 5, Lastimosa 0
Quarterscores: 32-29, 59-56, 84-86, 107-106