Blackwater sweeps NLEX for PBA D-League title
MANILA, Philippines — Blackwater did what was deemed improbable back then.
Riding high on their impressive Game 1 win, the Elite proved it was no fluke with a come-from-behind win, 80-74, to end NLEX’s two-year reign in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“We proved that any team can win,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, whose team rallied from 18 down and showcased great resolve down the stretch en route to the sweep and the championship.
Robby Celiz created match up problems with his quickness and strength at the fourth spot to finish with 20 points, 14 in the second half.
Justin Chua added 17 points while Allan Mangahas, whom Isaac thought should’ve been named MVP of the conference, showed why his coach said such statement with 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
The Road Warriors looked like the team of old, the team which dominated the league and bagged the last four championships, as they led by as much as 18 points in the third quarter.
“We can’t win this if we lose our composure, we have to make stops, make good shots and play the game possession for possession,” added Isaac.
The Elite did just that — outscoring the Road Warriors, 22-10, in the third period.
Nico Alva had 14 points for NLEX, which shot just two-of-19 from three and 35.6% from the field.
Blackwater took its first lead on a jumper by Chua, 65-64, with 8:18 left and never relented.
A turnaround jumper by Chua made it, 69-64. Baser Amer tied the game at 72 but Mangahas answered back with a go-ahead jumper from the top of the key for a 74-72 edge with 1:25 remaining.
Down by three in the waning seconds, NLEX failed to get a decent shot with Ronald Pascual hoisting a tough-angled three from the right corner with Blackwater’s defense draped all over him.
Kevin Ferrer was fouled and iced the game on a free throw with 1.2 ticks left.
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