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ON THE RISE

Blackwater, Phoenix seek 3rd straight wins, joint 2nd spot

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 05:10 AM January 17, 2018

Leo Isaac wrapped up practice with his surging Blackwater crew on Tuesday afternoon, convinced that the coaching staff had finally instilled in the Elite what they wanted them to believe right from opening day.

“After winning over (Barangay) Ginebra, after viewing the (game) tape the other day and seeing that they beat a team that had (Greg) Slaughter and Japeth (Aguilar), they now know that they can beat any team in this league,” Isaac said of his Elite’s newfound confidence.

The Elite will be coming off two straight victories capped by that Friday upset of the Gin Kings, whom they fended off the entire night before pulling away in the closing minutes to win, 94-77.

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Dealing the Kings their first loss in the tournament made the field take a second look at the Elite, who will return to action Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum looking to beat TNT KaTropa for the first time in their PBA existence and improve their Philippine Cup standings.

“This game got bigger, not just because we have a chance to win three straight (games), but because we haven’t beaten TNT, ever,” Isaac continued over the phone.

“But we are still the underdogs here. TNT has an awesome lineup.”

Tip off is at 7 p.m., with the Texters still licking the wounds of a lopsided 88-76 road loss to three-time defending champion San Miguel Beer.

“But more than beating TNT for the first time and winning three straight, the important thing here is the players know that winning improves our standing,” Isaac said.

Isaac is wary of whom he calls “the usual suspects in the TNT team,” as he emphasized the need to play team defense.

“We need to stop Jayson (Castro), Troy (Rosario), RR (Pogoy) and (Anthony) Semerad who is playing very well of late,” Isaac said. “If we can do that, we might have a good chance to
+otch another upset.”

Another team on a two-game run that will take on a traditional power on the fall is Phoenix Petroleum, which slugs it out with Rain or Shine in the 4:30 p.m. opener.

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San Miguel Beer is the only unbeaten team left in the tournament at 3-0.
Victories by Blackwater and Phoenix would allow them to keep within striking distance of the leaders, something very important in a conference this long.

The Fuel Masters were the first to hand the NLEX Road Warriors a loss, while the Elasto Painters are coming off two straight defeats, counting a 70-78 setback at the hands of undermanned GlobalPort last week.

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TAGS: Basketball, Blackwater, PBA
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