Back on track
ANTIPOLO—Blackwater rode the hot shooting of Roi Sumang and Allein Maliksi for an early cushion and made use of that to turn back Rain or Shine, 98-92, Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Ynares Center here.
Sumang and Maliksi, who both came off the bench, caught fire from deep and combined for 12 points to help establish control for the Elite, who went into the halftime break holding a 10-point lead.
Ray Parks Jr. and Mike DiGregorio picked up the scoring in the final two quarters to keep the Elasto Painters grounded and eventually give the Elite their fourth win in five games.
TNT broke loose in the third period later in the night and went on to tear Phoenix Pulse to shreds, 114-88, behind some sterling individual performances.
Terrence Jones scored 40 points, RR Pogoy finished with a career-high 31 and Jayson Castro completed a triple double with 13 rebounds, 11 points and the same number of assists in the KaTropa’s third win in four games.
Coaches from both sides were ejected during the physical first half, with Phoenix also losing Jason Perkins, last year’s top rookie.
Phoenix dropped to 1-1.
It was a great bounce back for Blackwater, which suffered its first loss in the conference last week at the hands of Phoenix Pulse.
“The challenge for us today was to be focused and to bounce back. And tonight they played very well,” rookie coach Aris Dimaunahan said. “We executed better compared to the last game.”
Maliksi went on to lead all Blackwater shooters with 19 points, while Parks, Sumang and DiGregorio all finished with 11 or more in another balanced effort from the locals.
Import Alex Stepheson had another double-double of 13 points and 20 rebounds.
Denzel Bowles, another returning reinforcement, posted 27 points to pace Rain or Shine. He made up for a lackluster showing in the rebounding
department by sparking a late run that narrowed the deficit to just four.
James Yap led Rain or Shine’s locals with 13 points, as Mark Borboran and Ed Daquioag had 10 each in the Elasto Painters’ second straight setback.
“We wanted to share the basketball and we did so by getting 20 assists tonight. We also out-rebounded the Painters (56-49). It goes to show that our players are into it and they are working together,” Dimaunahan said.
“I commend my players for staying focused. They stayed locked in,” he said.
Blackwater takes on a listless NLEX next in the same venue this coming Saturday.
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