Games Tomorrow (The Arena, San Juan)
2 p.m. – Big Chill vs Hog’s Breath
4 p.m. – NLEX vs Zambales M-Builders
Blackwater Sports went on a hot start to zoom past Cebuana Lhuillier, 96-74, and clinch the last quarterfinals berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
Jericho Cruz scored nine of his 19 points in the first quarter that saw the Elite take a 31-13 lead, setting the tone for their rout of the Gems and won the tight race with CafeFrance for the last spot in the playoffs.
Cruz also had a career-high 16 rebounds, four assists and two steals for Blackwater, which finished tied with CafeFrance for sixth at 8-5 but earned a playoff position due to the win over the other rule.
The Elite’s 87-82 overtime win over CafeFrance last Thursday proved to be the difference maker.
“Mas napaganda pa yung chances namin dahil sa pagkapanalo namin over CafeFrance so we believe that for us to make the quarterfinals, we have to work hard for it,” said coach Leo Isaac. “And considering the situation, talagang serious basketball kami and thankful naman ako na nagrespond yung mga players.”
Allan Mangahas added 16 points while Kevin Ferrer and Pari Llagas scored 11 markers apiece as Blackwater turned Cebuana into a sparring partner for its upcoming quarterfinal duel with Jumbo Plastic next week.
Jumbo Plastic, which finished third at 10-3, holds a twice-to-beat advantage and beat Blackwater in overtime, 79-72, last Dec. 16.
Blackwater’s biggest lead came at 73-42 with five minutes remaining in the game as Cebuana ended its elimination round assignment at 5-8.
Earlier, Bobby Ray Parks scored 23 points as NU-BDO pummeled lowly Derulo Accelero, 83-57, to finish its campaign with a 5-8 record.
Parks also had nine rebounds and three assists for the Bulldogs, who five of their final seven games after starting the tournament with a 0-6 record.
Center Troy Rosario added 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks while Gelo Alolino made 11 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Derulo Accelero shared the last spot with Arellano-Air21 at 1-12.
NU-BDO 83 – Parks 23, Rosario 11, Alolino 11, Perez 8, Khobuntin 8, Rono 7, Neypes 6, Labing-isa 5, Celda 2, Javelona 2, Villamoar 0, de Guzman 0.
DERULO ACCELERO 57 – Corpuz 17, Soyud 11, Morillo 6, Manuel 5, Gingerich 5, Bautista 5, Wierzba 2, Wong 2, Juruena 2, Importante 2, Olondriz 0, Roncan 0, Dilay 0, Eman 0.
Quarters: 8-16; 29-28; 54-38; 83-57.
BLACKWATER 96 – Cruz 19, Mangahas A. 16, Ferrer 11, Llagas 11, Bulawan 9, Bagatsing 9, Ciriacruz 8, Austria 6, Suguitan 3, Avillanoza 2, Acibar 2, Pe 0, Mangahas J. 0.
CEBUANA LHUILLIER 74 – Gamalinda 14, Leynes 10, Sumang 9, Olivares 9, Casajeros 7, Zamar 7, Banal 6, Paredes 4, Noble 2, Javier 2, Flores 2, Bustos 2, Padilla 0.
Quarters: 31-13; 51-34; 80-54; 96-74.