Blackwater rode on another third-quarter outburst to thwart NLEX, 98-88, for its second win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga on Saturday, October 17.
Don Trollano finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead 4 players in double figures as the Elite already matched the number of wins they picked up in the previous conference by improving to 2-1.
Blackwater ended its Governors' Cup campaign last year at rock bottom with a 2-9 record but it has looked like a reinvigorated team this season under the tutelage of head coach Nash Racela.
Its impressive start can be attributed to its consistent third-quarter explosion as it built a 24-point lead against NLEX in the second half despite the game being tied at 46-46 at halftime.
Averaging 40 points in the third quarter in their first two games, the Elite outscored the Road Warriors, 35-16, in the period to go into the final frame sitting on a comfortable 81-62 cushion.
Trollano then hit a triple to give Blackwater its biggest lead of the game, 93-69, before NLEX made a huge run in the last 6 minutes.
KG Cañaleto added 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the win, Roi Sumang had 13 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, while Ed Daquioag chipped in 10 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds.
"Whoever we put in, regardless of the number of minutes, as long as you're giving us positive contributions, then you're helping the team," said Racela as the Elite tallied a conference-high 64 bench points.
Rookie Mike Ayonayon set a PBA career-high 20 points to go with 6 rebounds but all that went down the drain as the Road Warriors remained winless in 3 games.
Kiefer Ravena put up 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals in the loss that saw NLEX miss the services of veteran guard Jericho Cruz, who sat out due to a swollen ankle.
Blackwater 98 - Canaleta 18, Trollano 18, Sumang 13, Daquioag 10, Golla 8, Desiderio 7, Belo 7, Tolomia 6, Salem 5, Magat 3, Gabriel 2, Escoto 1, Dennison 0.
NLEX 88 - Ayonayon 20, Ravena 17, Alas 13, Soyud 13, Porter 9, McAloney 6, Galanza 5, Quinahan 5, Ighalo 0, Miranda 0, Paniamogan 0, Semerad 0.
Quarters : 17-15, 46-46,81-62, 98-88.
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.