Blackwater clips Phoenix to win first game since October last year
Blackwater once again snapped a spell of defeats at the expense of Phoenix on Friday, doing this while it continues to await the return of a key player from a lengthy absence.
“He will be a big addition if he will play, even if it’s 80 percent of Troy Rosario” coach Ariel Vanguardia said after the Bossing overcame the Fuel Masters, 108-105, for their first win in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup—the first since October last year—at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The win, anchored by import Shawn Glover’s 31 points, allowed the Bossing to snap a string of seven straight losses dating back to the latter part of the Commissioner’s Cup, with Rosario sidelined due to an injured foot.
Vanguardia said Rosario’s comeback may happen on Wednesday against San Miguel Beer at Philsports Arena in Pasig City, or in the match with Meralco at Ynares Antipolo on Feb. 4.
Mikey Williams knocked down a three-point shot in the dying seconds to help preserve TNT’s 105-100 comeback victory over Rain or Shine as the Tropang Giga joined Converge and Meralco in a tie for the early lead at 2-0.
Williams came off the bench for the second straight game and went on to finish with 24 points, including the dagger trey that came after the Elasto Painters cut the gap to two on baskets from import Michael Qualls.
The Tropang Giga, who also got 24 from import Jalen Hudson and 22 from RR Pogoy, won despite a sluggish first half which saw them trail by 18 at one point.
Rain or Shine dropped to 0-2, spoiling the 35-point effort of Qualls.
Having Rosario back will be a huge boost for a team that dealt with injuries during the previous conference when a promising start was followed by a slump that resulted in a 3-9 record and an early vacation.
Baser Amer sat out four of the last five matches of the midseason tournament due to a strained calf, while Jvee Casio had just returned after being out since after the Philippine Cup because of a groin issue.
The Bossing also missed sophomore Joshua Torralba due to an injured knee sustained in the All-Filipino tourney.
Two of those three players stepped up, with Amer firing 17 points after making 6-of-10 shots highlighted by four triples, while Casio knocked down a crucial corner jumper with under a minute left that extended Blackwater’s lead to 101-98.
Casio’s timely shot came after Phoenix had rallied behind import Du’vaughn Maxwell. The Fuel Masters even took the driver’s seat on Tyler Tio’s putback with 1:40 left for 98-97.“Our No. 1 priority for this conference is to be healthy,” said the Blackwater mentor.
It was deja vu for Blackwater after snapping a similar seven-game skid last Sept. 24 when it beat Phoenix, 97-85, in the second game of the Commissioner’s Cup.
Phoenix couldn’t avoid a similar fate and fell to a 0-2 start in the season-ending conference under interim coach Jamike Jarin, who was tapped after Topex Robinson left to handle La Salle in the UAAP.
Maxwell’s 37 points couldn’t lift Phoenix to victory, while the rookie Tio missed two three-point attempts that could have tied the game.
“I challenged the guys to be tougher today,” he said. “We treated it as a championship game because it would be hard to go down 0-2 and it would be difficult to bounce back.”
The Bossing trailed by 12 at one point and the highlight of the endgame was that Casio basket that had the entire Blackwater bench celebrating. Casio finished with just five points as he slowly tries to regain the form that made him one of the finest guards in the league.