Blackwater started the new year just like how it ended last year: with a win.
The Elite proved that they belong with the big boys, toppling one of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup powerhouses in Ginebra, 94-77, Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
JP Erram unloaded 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks, while Mac Belo also poured 22 markers on a 4-of-7 shooting from three, none bigger than his dagger triple with 1:28 to play, alongside seven boards, three assists, and two steals.
Allein Maliksi contributed eight of his 17 points in the payoff period as he helped Blackwater establish control early in the quarter, before Mike DiGregorio fired six of his eight markers to erect an 82-74 lead with 5:10 to play.
It was the Elite’s only second franchise win against Ginebra and the first in an all-Filipino conference. They improved to 2-1 for the season with this second straight win.
“We told our guys that it’s gonna be something special for our team if we’ll be able to hand Ginebra its first loss this conference, and on our part, our first win for 2018. Luckily, were able to do what we’ve planned,” said coach Leo Isaac.
LA Tenorio still tried to bring the Gin Kings back in the game, trimming the lead down to eight, 82-74, with 3:59 remaining, but Erram and Belo had the last laugh, hitting the crucial buckets to put the game away for good.
Greg Slaughter carried Ginebra (2-1) with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists, while Tenorio got 16 markers, six dimes, five boards, and two steals in the defeat.
BLACKWATER 94 – Erram 22, Belo 22, Maliksi 17, Jose 8, DiGregorio 8, Sena 7, Cortez 4, Palma 4, Marcelo 2, Pinto 0, Cruz 0, Sumang 0.
GINEBRA 77 – Slaughter 20, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 14, Thompson 12, Cruz 4, Taha 4, Caguioa 3, Ferrer 2, Mariano 2, Wilson 0, R. Aguilar 0.
Quarters: 19-19, 41-33, 64-61, 94-77.