MANILA, Philippines—Blackwater eluded a scare put up by upset-minded Informatics, 67-64, Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Head coach Leo Isaac didn’t like how his team kept its guard down knowing the Icons have yet to win a game.
“When you’re up against a team who hasn’t won, we tend to relax and hope that they’ll give up,” said Isaac. “Pero dapat, the more kami nag-compete kasi our opponent is playing with no pressure, gusto nila maging spoiler and go for the upset.”
The Elite looked to run away when it led, 65-56, on a three by Allan Mangahas with 4:22 left.
But it didn’t take long for the Icons to fight back. Mark Benitez nailed a nifty move on the low block to cut the deficit to one, 64-65, with 55 seconds left.
Informatics, which absorbed its sixth straight setback in as many games, though couldn’t complete a defensive stop on the other end as Mangahas came up with an offensive rebound off a miss by Justine Chua.
Mangahas, who played the entire second half with Jeric Fortuna sidelined since early in the second quarter due to an injury, sank two free throws after being intentionally fouled to set the final count with 20.6 ticks remaining.
Kevin Ferrer shot a game-high 18 points, including 10 in the third quarter.
Mangahas finished with eight points, five rebounds, 11 assists and only one turnover in 30 minutes.
Blackwater, which will have an eight-day layoff before facing defending champion NLEX, pushed its winning streak to four in five games
Grevanni Rublico gave the Icons a boost with 14 points off the bench.