MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Import MJ Rhett poured 17 of his game-high 30 points in the second quarter and the Blackwater Elite went on to pound the Globalport Batang Pier, 115-103, in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, March 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rhett also added 13 rebounds, two assists and 3 steals as Blackwater stopped a two-game slide for a 3-3 record. Veteran guard Mike Cortez, who sat out Wednesday’s game versus San Miguel due to pains in his right knee, contributed 22 points with 4 rebounds and 7 assists.
“MJ Rhett played a very, very good game. He followed instructions defensively and offensively. He was very patient in running the offensive system with the local guys,” said coach Leo Isaac. “It’s really a good sign that he has played well, above expectations, and we hope to see more of his good play.”
Thanks to Rhett’s second frame explosion, the Elite pulled away for a 62-51 halftime lead. They led by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, and 22 in the fourth, and cruised to the victory.
“This would serve as a perfect birthday gift for our team owner, Mr. Dioceldo Sy, he’s celebrating his 50th birthday and he said inside the dressing room before the game that is a must-win ‘it’s my birthday’ so somehow it rubbed onto the players,” said a satisfied Isaac.
This is the first time in franchise history that Blackwater defeated Globalport, leaving Rain or Shine, TNT, Star and NLEX as the only teams they’ve yet to overcome.
“Little by little we’re getting a taste of some wins over established PBA teams. We hope to continue on with the development,” Isaac added.
Art Dela Cruz came up with an impressive performance of 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and two blocks with just one turnover.
Reil Cervantes added 13 markers and Carlo Lastimosa, Blackwater’s usual scorer with a couple of career games this season, settled for a conference-low 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting. He also had 5 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench.
Globalport was hungry for some offensive punch as they continue to miss the services of injured guard Stanley Pringle (sprained ankle).
Terrence Romeo, who is also reportedly nursing a sore right calf, went 6-of-15 from the field for 17 points with 6 turnovers.
Calvin Warner scored 26 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and dished out 6 assists for the Batang Pier, who dropped to 2-4. Jonathan Uyloan had 15 points while Paolo Taha and Keith Jensen added 12 markers each.
Quarter scores: 27-27, 62-51, 87-79, 115-103.