Playing coach Manny Pacquiao hit his first ever career three-point shot as the Mahindra Enforcers cruised to a 97-88 win over the Blackwater Elite in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Import James White sizzled with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the field plus 19 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Aldrech Ramos had 15 points and six rebounds and guard Paolo Taha contributed 13 points to hand Mahindra a 5-2 win-loss record.
“The team is improving on last two game’s mistake,” said assistant coach Chris Gavina of Mahindra during the post game interview. “The players are inspired today. They’re extra motivated with coach Manny [Pacquiao] around.
Playmaker LA Revilla dished out 10 assists in his return from a nose injury.
“LA [Revilla] is an extension of me and the coaching staff and we’re glad to have him back.”
Mahindra took a slim 18-14 advantage after the first period and they widened the gap to 46-39 at the halftime break with import White scoring 12 points in the second canto. The Enforcers were accurate shooters than the Elite in the first two quarters, registering 45% to 38% shooting clip.
Pacquiao scored one of his two free throws before hitting his first ever three-pointer in the game with only a minute left before the halftime break and the crowd went wild after making the shot.
“Yeah it just went in,” Pacquiao, referring to his first three-pointer, told the media during the post game interview. “Our goal is to win the championship and I believe that’s doable if we keep playing tough. I’m really happy of how the players played today.”
Mahindra, riding on the spectacular performance of Ramos and White in the third period, maintained its fine shooting and defensive hustles in the third quarter allowing them to post a 74-63 cushion heading to the fourth canto.
The Enforcers stayed in control the rest of the way.
Carlo Lastimosa led Blackwater with 17 points, while import Eric Dawson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Elite, however, dropped to 1-6 win-loss record.
Meanwhile, the PBA had a simple tribute to legendary head coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan after the first game.
Dalupan, 92, who passed away due to lingering illness on Thursday, was the league’s winningest coach with 15 titles before multi-title coach Tim Cone broke that record as he won his 16th title in 2014.
PBA greats and retired players Atoy Co, Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio and league commissioner Chito Narvasa, who won championships with the legendary coach, did the ceremonial buzzer as signed of their respect and honoring the achievements made by Dalupan.