Mac Belo stepped up in crunch time to lead Blackwater to a 92-87 win over Rain or Shine on Friday, its first victory after two games, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
After Beau Belga’s three-point play off JP Erram’s foul, Belo took charge hitting a three-pointer that gave the Elite a 90-85 cushion with 1:39 remaining in the game.
The Elasto Painters through Ed Daquioag’s charge narrowed the gap to 87-90 with still 36 ticks left. But they’ve committed a turnover in the final 26 seconds that allowed the Elite to seal the win. Mike Digregorio sank two free throws with only 11 seconds left prior to the last buzzer.
Belo, a former Far Eastern University standout, nailed nine of his 25 points in the last period in addition to seven rebounds while Digregorio added 23 points.
“As what I’ve said, our defense had to hold against the firepower of Rain or Shine. And indeed, we were able to sustain the defense we wanted. On the winning end, we were able to convert those big shots. I told the players never to lose composure. We hope this win before the New Year will boost our campaign,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.
Rookie Raymar Jose had 12 points and eight rebounds, Allein Maliksi 10 points while JP Erram contributed eight points, 14 rebounds and two blocks also for the Elite, who bounced back from their 98-103 opening game loss to Meralco last week.
Chris Tiu led Rain or Shine with 14 points, while Daquioag and Gabe Norwood contributed 13 points apiece.
The Elasto Painters, who failed to ride the momentum of their 82-79 beating of TNT last week, now have a 1-1 win-loss record.
Rain or Shine, Magnolia, Blackwater and Phoenix are now holding identical 1-1 win-loss records.
Blackwater 92 – Belo 25, Digregorio 23, Jose 13, Maliksi 10, Erram 8, Pinto 7, Sumang 5, Sena 2, Marcelo 0.
Rain or Shine 87 – Tiu 14, Norwood 13, Daquioag 13, Almazan 10, Maiquez 8, Belga 7, Borboran 6, Yap 5, Trollano 4, King 3, Ponferada 2, Nambatac 2.
Quarters: 25-28, 47-44, 65-64, 92-87.