Blackwater snaps 5-game slide, stuns Barako behind Lastimosa’s 38
Blackwater sorely needed a big win and Carlo Lastimosa was foremost among those willing to step up and deliver.
Lastimosa scattered a personal career-high 38 points, leading the Elite to a runaway 116-92 win over Barako Bull Friday that fanned their hopes of making the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup playoffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The likes of Arthur dela Cruz coming off the bench to score 21 points, veteran Bambam Gamalinda notching 15 markers to go with 10 rebounds also as a reliever and the other Blackwater players doing their part keyed the win.
It is undeniable, however, that the rest of the Elite took their cue from Lastimosa, who eclipsed by seven points his previous career-high set only two games back and this one with more aplomb as he made 14 of his 20 field goal tries, including a 5-for-8 clip from beyond the arc.
“Sabi kasi ni coach (Leo Isaac) everybody should step up for us to have a chance na makapasok sa quarterfinals. Buti na lang nagawa namin,” said the third-year pro, who was especially hot in the fourth quarter where he notched 17 of his points.
As a result, Blackwater steadily broke off from a 93-83 count and went on to notch their second win in nine games that tied them at ninth with Mahindra.
More wins against the Star Hotshots on Friday and the Enforcers two days later and the Elite would realize their first playoff appearance in four conferences with the league.
Lastimosa’s performance also eased some of Isaac’s pre-game concerns and totally erased them as the game wore on and the combo guard continued to wax hot.
“May konting takot entering into this game,” said Isaac, whose team was coming off a 94-102 double overtime loss to Barangay Ginebra last Saturday.
“Sayang kasi ‘yung laro namin sa Ginebra, pwedeng Manalo,” added Isaac. “Kung nanalo sana medyo tataas ang confidence at morale ng mga players. So we really have to push them during practice. We kept telling them about the importance of our remaining games.”
The loss is a bitter one for Barako Bull, which played minus top gunner RR Garcia, sidelined by a shoulder he injured late in a 105-98 overtime win over TNT last Dec. 3.
“Malaking bagay talaga ang pagkawala ni RR sa Barako,” noted Isaac of the guard who is usually good for
17.12 points per game and was averaging 22.5 points the last two games.
Now, the Energy are at joint seventh on a 4-5 slate and must prevail over Star on Sunday and Alaska on Dec. 19 to solidify their bid for inclusion among the third- to sixth-ranked teams which will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the first phase of the quarterfinals.
Willy Wilson’s streak of double-double games was cut short at four as he scored 23 points but limited to
only seven boards. Josh Urbiztondo added 17 points, Jeric Fortuna a personal conference-high 13 points and Mick Pennisi 10, but JC Intal was held down to only four points, nine below his average.
Whether Barako could have won with a full complement is doubtful, considering Blackwater shot 48-for-88 from the floor, including a torrid 11-for-23 from beyond the arc, to the Energy’s 28-for-79. The Elite also had 51-40 and 48-22 advantages off the boards and points in the paint, respectively.
Those all stacked up for Blackwater, which broke off from a 10-all tie to take the opening quarter 26-12, the half 56-37 and even extending its lead to 72-52, the last with still 3:41 to go in the third period.
With Urbiztondo catching fire and scoring 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, Barako managed to trim the deficit to 91-81, still a good 5:53 left in the game.
The Energy were still within 83-93 off Wilson’s short stab, but then Lastimosa spearheaded a blistering attack which featured four of his triples and fully took the fight out of Barako.
BLACKWATER 116 – Lastimosa 38, Dela Cruz 21, Gamalinda 15, Cortez 9, Golla 9, Erram 6, Reyes 5, Cervantes 4, Sena 4, Vosotros 3, Canada 2, Agovida 0, Ballesteros 0.
BARAKO BULL 92 – Wilson 23, Urbiztondo 17, Fortuna 13, Pennisi 10, Lanete 6, Brondial 5, Forrester 4, Intal 4, Monfort 4, Baracael 2, Caperal 2, Miranda 2, Sorongon 0.
Quarters: 26-12, 56-37, 81-66, 116-92.
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