PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Blackwater routs Converge to end PBA skid even as top draftee Christian David struggles

Delfin Dioquino

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Blackwater routs Converge to end PBA skid even as top draftee Christian David struggles

PASS. JVee Casio in action for the Blackwater Bossing in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

PBA Images

Blackwater coasts to a 19-point win as debuting Bossing head coach Jeff Cariaso beats his former team Converge

MANILA, Philippines – Blackwater opened its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign in style and coasted to a 103-84 victory over new-look Converge at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday, November 8.

Puerto Rican import Chris Ortiz impressed across the board with 21 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks as the Bossing netted their first win since January after a disappointing Governors’ Cup run last season.

With no luck in the Governors’ Cup, Blackwater ended the conference on a nine-game skid and finished at the bottom with a 1-10 record.

Things, though, seem to be looking up for the Bossing this season as they notched a rare lopsided triumph thanks to five of their local players scoring in double figures.

JVee Casio fired 15 points, Mike Ayonayon put up 13 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, while Rey Suerte delivered 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Troy Rosario and Tyrus Hill added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the blowout that saw Blackwater lead by as many as 27 points, 91-64, early in the fourth quarter.

It was a payback win for debuting Blackwater import Jeff Cariaso as he beat his former team FiberXers, who gave him the pink slip after just one conference last season.

But Cariaso said his sacking by Converge is water under the bridge.

“It always feels good just to win. It is nothing personal,” said Cariaso. “There is still a lot of hard work to be done at this stage. There is still room to improve.”

The Bossing led from start to finish despite the offensive struggles of rookie Christian David, the second overall pick in the previous draft.

David, who played for Butler University in the US NCAA, scored just 3 points on 1-of-6 shooting with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in an otherwise quiet performance.

FiberXers newcomer Schonny Winston, drafted ninth overall out of La Salle, also fired blanks as he churned out 9 points on a 3-of-13 clip.

Returning New Zealand reinforcement Tom Vodanovich posted 20 points and 18 rebounds to pace Converge, which lost its two highest scoring locals in the offseason in Maverick Ahanmisi and Jeron Teng.

Ahanmisi joined Barangay Ginebra as a free agent, while Teng secured his release from the team and signed with San Miguel.

Mac Tallo backstopped Vodanovich with 15 points off the bench in his first PBA game since 2019 as he returned to the league after becoming the top 3×3 player in the country.

Newly crowned Rookie of the Year Justin Arana had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.

The Scores

Blackwater 103 – Ortiz 21, Casio 15, Ayonayon 13, Suerte 12, Rosario 11, Hill 10, Guinto 9, Escoto 3, David 3, Banal 3, McCarthy 2, Sena 0.

Converge 84 – Vodanovich 20, Tallo 15, Stockton 14, Arana 12, Balanza 10, Winston 9, Nieto 4, Ebona 0, Maagdenberg 0, Melecio 0, Racal 0, Ambohot 0, Santos 0.

Quarters: 17-18, 50-40, 75-55, 103-84.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.