Getting back their rhythm | Inquirer Sports

Getting back their rhythm

Elite end skid to book quarterfinal berth; Beermen rediscover winning form
/ 05:04 AM July 06, 2019

Roi Sumang steps up for Blackwater. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Coach Aris Dimaunahan had several concerns on Friday night, most of them sprouting from the fact that it had been a while since Blackwater won a ball game.

Those concerns—a need to return to the win column, a loose hold of the team’s place in the standings and uncertainty over an outright quarterfinal berth—were laid to rest in one fell swoop as the Elite tripped red-hot Magnolia in overtime, 104-99, at Mall of Asia Arena.


“We just had that commitment to winning and helping each other out,” Dimaunahan said after the game.


Roi Sumang, scoreless in the first three quarters, dealt damage when it mattered the most.  He had 10 points in the fourth quarter and accounted for the Elite’s nine points in overtime en route to a team-best 19 points.

Sumang credited new Blackwater import, Staphon Blair, for helping the team rediscover its hot form at the start of the conference and for throwing in 14 points and 14 rebounds.

“Maybe everything changed when we had a [new] import,” he said in a televised interview. “He greatly helped tonight. We really lacked firepower [in the past].”

San Miguel Beer also got a major boost from its import to hold off NLEX, 109-105, to prop its sagging playoff bid in the nightcap.

Chris McCullough had 47 points and 10 rebounds in his debut with the Beermen, spearheading a 16-0 run in the third period that allowed San Miguel to pull away.

But the Beermen had to weather a strong rally by the Road Warriors before scoring the victory they badly needed to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.


“Obviously we’re not happy with the win because we let [NLEX] recover,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria, whose wards nearly blew a 29-point lead.

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TAGS: Aris Dimaunahan, Blackwater, Magnolia, PBA, Roi Sumang

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