Carlo Lastimosa and Reil Cervantes led the Blackwater Elite to their very first back-to-back victory in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with a 107-101 thumping of the Alaska Aces in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday.
Lastimosa and Cervantes registered a combined output of 45 points, 21 of which were tallied in the final quarter.
Blackwater banked on the confidence boost they’ve gained from their previous win on Sunday against the Mahindra Enforcer to outclass one of the league’s heavyweight teams. The Elite is the first PBA expansion squad to accomplish the feat.
Alaska played sans three-time import Rob Dozier that is nursing a minor injury.
The Elite started aggressively to establish a 12-point lead, 22-10, with less than three minutes left in the first period.
However, Cyrus Baguio’s three converted treys in the remaining minutes of the first quarter reduced Blackwater’s lead to just four points, 27-23, going into the second canto.
Despite the onslaught of the Elite trio of Mike Cortez, Cervantes and import MJ Rhett that resulted in a 30-point output at the half, Alaska still managed to put itself within striking distance, 51-50, before the break.
Blackwater sustained their attacks in the third quarter, to post 29 points eventually pulling away from the Aces, 80-70.
Problems piled up for Alaska during the final 12 minutes after Cervantes scored from the top of the key to extend the Elite’s lead to 15 points, 87-72.
The Aces failed to make a comeback in the dying minutes of the match as Leo Isaac’s wards secured their second straight victory.
Rhett, with a triple-double performance, finished with 18 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists.
Riego Gamalinda contributed 12 points and three rebounds while Cortez and Raphy Reyes had 10 points each.
“It feels good to achieve this first back-to-back win for our franchise. Teams will definitely be preparing for us after this win,” said head coach Isaac during the post-game press conference.
“As long as you get wins, there’s this room for adjustment later on. We are happy with the results but we will [still need to]address our problems as we mature in the league later on,” said Isaac.