The Blackwater Elite dominated the NLEX Road Warriors, 96-85, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday.
The Road Warriors unleashed an 8-2 run through the combined effort of Jonas Villanueva, Mac Baracael, and Kevin Louie Alas, reducing Blackwater’s lead to seven with 9:13 minutes remaining in the final quarter, 79-72.
Nard John and Kyle Pascual scored a point each for Blackwater in the 7:57 minute mark, 83-72.
Enjoying a 15-point advantage, Blackwater’s biggest lead of the match, Arthur Dela Cruz scored a basket inside the paint midway through the canto, 87-72.
NLEX’s Carlo Lastimosa sank both his free throws with Pinto drawing the penalty foul with 4:10 minutes left, 89-77.
Pascual scored a mid-range jumper, while Pinto drained a long jumper in the 1:16 minute mark, 96-83.
“It just so happened that NLEX was lacking some key players due to some injuries or any other reasons and Blackwater just took advantage of that situation. Although we did prepare well for this game, considering the two consecutive setbacks that we had, and the last one was very frustrating against Rain or Shine so we have to get back to our senses and go back to our basics and play hard basketball,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac. “It’s good that this situation was available for Blackwater. We needed this victory to once again propel us to our winning ways and hopefully, we can continue on our victorious momentum,”
Earlier in the first half, Blackwater stretched their lead to nine with Dela Cruz scoring via layup and Reil Cervantes sinking a three-pointer with 1:50 minutes left in the first half.
Baracael then answered back with another trey for the Road Warriors, 45-39. Eric James Camson scored a basket inside the paint off Baracael’s assist in the 22.4 second mark, 45-41.
Dela Cruz top scored for Blackwater with 18 points, followed by Pascual with 16 markers. Ronjay Buenafe and James Ryan Sena combined for 24 points.
Lastimosa led NLEX with 23 markers, while Baracael added 16 more points.
With the victory, the Blackwater Elite currently hold a 3-2 win-loss record, while the NLEX Road Warriors have a 1-3 card.