PBA Philippine Cup

A new dawn? Blackwater catches another big fish for rare 2-0 start

Delfin Dioquino

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A new dawn? Blackwater catches another big fish for rare 2-0 start

ATTACK. Troy Rosario in action for the Blackwater Bossing in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Blackwater conquers TNT as it beats two teams from the MVP group for its first 2-0 start in the PBA in five years

MANILA, Philippines – For a team like Blackwater which has gained notoriety for its history of poor finishes in the PBA, a 2-0 start in the Philippine Cup brings promise of a new dawn.

Bossing head coach Jeff Cariaso certainly hopes so as Blackwater followed up its conquest of Meralco with another big win, pulling off a surprising 87-76 victory over TNT at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, March 2.

Those are two key triumphs against teams under the MVP group which are perennial contenders in the prestigious All-Filipino tournament.

“All 12 teams are trying to win a championship, it does not change for us,” said Cariaso.

“We are very practical in how we view things. We know that we have to be at the top of our game, if not better, game in and game out, to beat every team in the PBA, because we know every team has improved.”

Troy Rosario paced the Bossing in scoring as he torched his former team with 20 points on top of 6 rebounds, while RK Ilagan turned in a near triple-double effort, taking over the point guard duties after Rey Nambatac got hurt.

Nambatac, the hero of their 96-93 win over the Bolts last February 28, played just five minutes after spraining his right ankle in the opening quarter.

The exit of Nambatac, though, paved the way for Ilagan to shine as he finished with 15 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals off the bench.

Ilagan scattered 11 points in the second half to help Blackwater pull away, including the triple that gave his side its biggest lead of the game at 85-65 with five minutes left.

“When you have guys like RK who brings the effort and work ethic daily, then only good things will happen,” said Cariaso.

Rookies Christian David and James Kwekuteye supplied 13 and 9 points, respectively, while Bradwyn Guinto added 9 points and 3 rebounds.

Jaydee Tungcab posted 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in his first encounter against his former team since the Tropang Giga dealt him to the Bossing as part of three-team trade centered on Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.

Although elated as Blackwater notched its first 2-0 start since the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, Cariaso acknowledged more work has to be done as the conference progresses.

“We’re focused on us improving and we’ve taken two good steps. We know that these are still only two steps, we have to keep moving forward,” said Cariaso.

Calvin Oftana netted 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists for TNT, which fell to 1-1.

The Scores

Blackwater 87 – Rosario 20, Ilagan 15, David 13, Kwekuteye 9, Guinto 9, Yap 6, Escoto 5, Sena 4, Suerte 3, Hill 2, Tungcab 1, Nambatac 0, Jopia 0.

TNT 76 – Oftana 21, Castro 12, Khobuntin 8, Galinato 8, Ganuelas-Rosser B. 8, Williams 3, Ebona 2, Montalbo 2, Ganuelas-Rosser M. 2 , Aurin 2, Reyes 0, Ponferrada 0.

Quarters: 16-17, 39-35, 69-59, 87-76.

– 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.