MANILA, Philippines – As far as Mike Digregorio is concerned, he does not want the Blackwater Elite to rely on teams losing their games just so they can advance to the playoffs.
Blackwater, which is currently tied with the Phoenix Fuel Masters at 8th place behind identical 4-5 cards, still has two remaining games that will either make or break its playoff chances. Digregorio said the only way to avoid an early vacation is to win them.
"I think our chances are great. We hold our own destiny if we take care of business," said Digregorio. "It’s not like we’re waiting for somebody else to lose, our fate is in our hands."
Digregorio made sure not to let the Elite's 106-96 upset win over the San Miguel Beermen go to waste by chalking up 21 points in a 95-76 win against the Kia Picanto on Friday, February 16.
The 27-year-old scored 14 points in the 3rd quarter alone to help Blackwater pull away for good against the pesky Kia side, which remained within striking distance after the first two quarters, 47-41.
But Digregorio, who is averaging 23.5 points in the last two games, deflected the credit to his teammates, saying it just happened that he got the hot hand.
"The last two games were my night, the next two could be Allein’s (Maliksi) night, Mac’s (Belo) night. Mac’s averaging like 18 a game this conference. Poy (Erram) has been a beast and he’s playing great every single game."
Blackwater faces a tough stretch in ending its elimination round campaign with its last two games happening within 4 days. Digregorio, however, is confident they can pull through, especially when winning would mean retaining the Elite's core of players for the future.
"It’s insensitive not to give back to the management and hopefully we can keep this group together. I really want us to stick together and build because I believe we can do great things," added Digregorio.
The Elite will try to extend their winning streak to 3 games as they take on the NLEX Road Warriors on Sunday, February 18, at the Philippine Arena before clashing with the Phoenix Fuel Masters on February 21 at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
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.