Fortuna leads Blackwater to the D-League semis after downing Pacific PipesBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Blackwater entered the semifinals of the 2012 PBA D-League Foundation Cup after disposing of Rnw Pacific Pipes, 76-69, Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
Blackwater, which needed just a victory to advance, will have its hands full against defending champion NLEX in the semifinals, which will start depending on the outcome of the second game.
Blackwater flipped a lackadaisical opening quarters to a dominant second half by unleashing the full brunt of the squad’s attack.
Seven unanswered points to kick off the third quarter, backed by solid defense, gave Blackwater its biggest edge of the night and changed the complexion of the match to its advantage.
“During the second half, it was obvious my players responded by playing a different kind of team basketball,” said head coach Leo Isaac.
Sly guard Jeric Fortuna paced Blackwater with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but the rest of the squad chipped in at least three points.
After trailing early in the game, a triple from big man Kelly Nabong knotted it at 28 midway the second quarter, and Blackwater never trailed by no more than three points after that.
The Steelmasters of coach Pido Jarencio, on the other hand, exited the conference with four straight losses dating back to the eliminations.
Pacific Pipes had a chance to forge a rubber match, but could not sustain the spunk it had in the first half where it led by as big as 25-13 on a jumper by Jan Colina.
Jeric Teng had 13 points while Raymond Aguilar added 12 points for the Steelmasters, who was outscored 10-21 in the pivotal third quarter.
Blackwater 76 – Celiz 12, Fortuna 10, Nabong 9, Pasucla 8, Mandani 8, Zamar 6, Bringas 6, Bautista 5, Ciriacruz G. 5, Jeffries 4, Ciriacruz I. 3.
Pacific Pipes 69 – Teng 13, Aguilar 23, Rogado 8, Buensuceso 8, Ilagan 8, Bustos 6, Colina 4, Gonzales 3, Acidre 3, De Guzman 2, Mariano 2, Sanvictores 0, Delgado 0.