Blackwater stays in the playoff hunt, eliminates Kia
Making a late run to the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Blackwater fanned its playoff hopes and dumped Kia, 95-76, Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win allowed the Elite to move to join eighth place with Phoenix, both of whom are carrying 4-5 cards.
“We would want to keep our hopes alive and that could only happen if we could continue our winning ways,” said coach Leo Isaac. “That win against San Miguel was like a shot in the arm and with this convincing win against Kia, maybe we can go on and move up to the next level in terms of confidence, maturity, and all things that could add up to our game on Sunday.”
Mike DiGregorio kickstarted the rout in the third quarter, firing 14 points powered by three treys as the Elite took an 18-point lead in the frame, 77-59.
His explosion paved the way for his other teammates to catch fire as Blackwater extended its lead to as high as 26, 94-68.
DiGregorio finished the game with 21 points on a 3-of-7 shooting from three, to go with three rebounds and three assists.
JP Erram nabbed a double-double of 17 markers, 14 boards, and three dimes, while Allein Maliksi got 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Nard Pinto also had a solid outing, firing five markers, seven boards, eight assists, and two steals in his 28 minutes on the floor.
Blackwater now shift its focus to its all-important duel against NLEX on Sunday at Philippine Arena.
Ronald Tubid fired 22 points on a 6-of-9 sniping from downtown, on top of eight rebounds, while Reden Celda had 21 markers and five boards for the cellar-dwelling Kia, which suffered its fourth straight defeat and dropped to 1-8.
BLACKWATER 95 — DiGregorio 21, Erram 17, Maliksi 14, Sena 9, Belo 8, Marcelo 8, Cruz 5, Pinto 5, Jose 4, Javier 3, Banal 1, Cortez 0, Neypes 0, Palma 0.
KIA 76 — Tubid 22, Celda 21, Corpuz 9, Lastimosa 8, McCarthy 6, Reyes 5, Camson 3, Khobuntin 2, Escoto 0, Galanza 0, Sara 0, Yee 0.
Quarters: 25-21, 47-41, 77-65, 95-76.
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