Blackwater banked on a strong first half to demolish Kia, 118-97, and return to its winning ways in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
The Elite exploded for a franchise-best 40 points in the first quarter and led by as high as 49 points, 86-37, early in the third period en route to a lopsided win to improve its win-loss mark to 4-4.
“We really needed this kind of game heading to our last three games. We played with lots of energy and we’re playing good basketball both defensively and offensively. Our import, Mr. Inspiration (Henry Walker) provided us the leadership against Kia,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.
Walker tallied an all-around game of 25 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He drew plenty of support from the locals led by JP Eram, who also dished out an impressive game of 16 points, 14 boards and four blocks.
Mike Digregorio added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Niño Canaleta and Rafael Banal contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Elite, who brace for a tough three-game stretch against Ginebra, Rain or Shine and GlobalPort.
Isaac hopes their new recruits can provide the helm as they gun for a top eight finish.
“We’re hoping our reinforcements will help us in those games. Hopefully, they could gel with us next week when we play their former team (Ginebra) next Friday,” added Isaac, referring to Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo.
Ellis and Marcelo were acquired in a trade with the Gin Kings for the injured Art Dela Cruz and Raymond Aguilar.
It was a good bounce-back win for the Elite, whose three-game winning streak was snapped by TNT KaTropa last Wednesday, 96-117.
They vented their ire on the Picanto, who were listless in the first 24 minutes of the game and were even held scoreless for six minutes in the second period that allowed Blackwater to pull away early.
The Elite also registered their highest output in that half, 70-31, and Banal’s jumper gave the team their biggest lead at 86-37 with 8:34 left in the third period.
Kia had a better offense in the fourth quarter outscoring the Elite, 35-22, but the team of deputy coach Chris Gavina did not have enough time to recover from the early blows.
Kia’s new import Geron Johnson, who replaced Markeith Cummings, debuted with 28 points and six assists but it was not enough to stop the bleeding for the Elite, who absorbed their eighth straight loss in as many games.
BLACKWATER 118 – Walker 25, DiGregorio 16, Erram 16, Canaleta 13, Banal 12, Sumang 9, Pinto 8, Gamalinda 7, Belo 6, Pascual 4, Sena 2, Cruz 0, Miranda 0.
KIA 97 – Johnson 28, Paniamogan 17, Yee 14, Corpuz 11, Khobuntin 8, Elorde 5, Celda 4, Salva 4, Deutchman 3, Revilla 2, Camson 1, Caperal 0, Jaime 0, Nimes 0, Ballesteros 0.
Quarter Scores: 40-21, 70-31, 96-62, 118-97.