By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Blackwater Elite sustained their solid form in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup, adding the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to their list of victims, 99-93, at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna on Sunday.
Had it strong in the middle quarters, the Elite were challenged late in the game but were able to extricate themselves to book the win that had them moving up to 6-1 while leaving the Elasto Painters still winless (0-4).
The contest got to a competitive start with the two teams fighting to a 12-all count in the opening four minutes of the first quarter before Rain or Shine went on a 15-5 run to build a 27-17 lead by the 4:47 mark.
Blackwater though would finish strong to narrow the gap, 30-27, at the end of the first 12 minutes.
The Elite picked up from their late run in the first period to begin the second quarter, seizing the lead, 33-32, after five minutes.
Allein Maliksi then waxed hot for Blackwater to help his team build a 44-34 advantage with 1:40 to go.
The Elasto Painters tried to make up for lost ground for the remainder of the half but could only come within eight points, 47-39, by the halftime break.
Rain or Shine began the third canto strong behind import Terrence Watson, coming to within two points, 47-45, after two minutes only to see Blackwater create distance anew, 58-49, in the next three minutes.
Mike DiGregorio exploded for the Elite after, helping his team extend its lead to 16 points, 71-55, with 2:37 left in the quarter.
The count stood at 73-64, and Blackwater on top, three-fourths into the contest.
Rain or Shine began the fourth quarter firing, narrowing the gap to four points, 77-73, at the 9:08 mark.
Paul Zamar, Mac Belo and import Henry Walker though steady things for Blackwater, conspiring to rack up seven straight points to stretch their lead once again to double digits, 84-73, in the next minute and a half.
Blackwater held an 89-79 advantage with four minutes remaining before Rain or Shine made a last-ditch effort to salvage the game.
The Elasto Painters cut the Elite’s lead to three, 90-87, with 2:37 remaining on the clock but four straight points from guard Nards Pinto gave Blackwater more breathing space, 94-87, with 1:14 to go.
A triple by Gabe Norwood and a breakaway basket by Maverick Ahanmisi pushed Rain or Shine to just four points behind, 94-92, with 43 ticks left.
Mr. Pinto though drained a triple with 17 seconds remaining to give Blackwater a fresh five-point lead, 97-92, from which Rain or Shine could not recover from.
Mr. DiGregorio led Blackwater with 17 points with Mr. Pinto adding 16.
Mr. Walker had a triple-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists while Mr. Maliksi had 13 points.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, was paced by Mr. Ahanmisi with 25 points followed by Mr. Watson with 17 points and 14 boards and Ed Daquioag with 15 points.
“We just moved the ball around. We’re like a wolf pack, strong if we play as a pack,” said Mr. Walker, named co-player of the game with Mr. Pinto, after their win.