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Coast clear for Blackwater’s semis assault

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ANTIPOLO—Blackwater survived a late Big Chill fightback to come away with a pulsating 64-61 victory yesterday and gain solo second place in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Center.

Dominant in the first three quarters, the Elite almost squandered a 19-point lead in the face of the Superchargers’ fiery rally in the final period before improving to 4-1.

Earlier, Cebuana Lhuillier leaned on a blistering start to pummel Cagayan Rising Suns, 82-55, for its third win in four outings.

The Gems turned to Janus Lozada early on and the Adamson swingman struck for all his 10 points in the first quarter to help Cebuana establish control.

It was a resounding response for the Gems, who absorbed a 52-68 defeat to Big Chill last week.

Back-up center Raymond Almazan dished out his best game of the conference, finishing with 16 points that went with four blocks as the Gems prevailed in a highly physical duel that saw the ejection of Gems guard Raymond Maconocido for a flagrant foul on James Castro and a technical with seven minutes remaining.

The Superchargers pulled within 61-62 on Mar Villahermosa’s layup, but the Big Chill reserve guard missed a potential game-tying triple in the dwindling seconds, allowing the Elite to escape with the victory.

AJ Mandani’s two free throws off a foul from Keith Jensen with five seconds left gave the Superchargers enough cushion heading into Big Chill’s last play.

The win was Blackwater’s third straight and boosted its chances of nailing an outright semifinal berth.

It was the Superchargers’ first defeat in four games under new coach Robert Sison.

The Elite looked headed for a romp when they took a 56-37 lead on Paul Zamar’s triple at the start of the fourth period. But Keith Jensen, Mac Montilla and Alex Mallari joined forces to turn the game around for the Superchargers.

“We got a good jump on them early and we manage to build a comfortable lead,” said Elite coach Leo Isaac.

The scores:

First Game

C. LHUILLIER 82—Almazan 12, Llagas 11, Manuel 11, Lozada 10, Celeda 9, Alvarez 9, Exciminiano 8, Apinan 4, Maconocido 3, Atkins 2, Austria 2, Hayes 1.

CAGAYAN 55—Custodio 20, Macuha 10, Agas 6, Castro 5, Melano 4, Malig-on 3, Arce 3, Bagares 2, Tagarda 2, Chiu 0, LAscano 0, Aggarao 0, Galinato 0.

Quarters: 24-9, 43-23, 60-37, 82-55

Second Game

BLACKWATER 64—Nabong 12, Mandani 12, Zamar 10, Bautista 10, Ciriacruz 9, Pascual 6, Celiz 5, Fortuna 0, Ciriacruz I. 0, Camus 0.

BIG CHILL 61—Jensen 17, Ponferada 10, Tan 10, Villahermosa 7, Mallari 6, Montilla 4, Santos 3, Collado 2, Reyes 2, Viernes 0, Glorioso 0,

Quarters: 21-14, 39-28, 53-37, 64-61


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