(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines – The hot-shooting Blackwater Elite couldn't do anything wrong in the 4th quarter as they slew the giants San Miguel Beermen, 106-96, to end a 4-game losing streak in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday, February 9.
Up by just two points midway the payoff period, 82-80, the Elite went on a 7-0 blitz from Renz Palma and Poy Erram for an 89-80 advantage, a lead they preserved until the final buzzer.
The Beermen kept themselves within striking distance after a Chris Ross bucket, 92-98, but the Elite pulled away for good as Mike Digregorio went on a personal 8-0 run, sparked and capped by triples within the last two minutes, 106-92.
Digregorio finished with 26 points, 11 coming in the last frame, to go with 5 assists and 3 rebounds while Erram scattered 24 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and two blocks for the Elite, who improved to 3-5.
Allein Maliksi added 11 poiints, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and two steals in the win. James Sena and Dave Marcelo combined for 16 points and 8 rebounds but their most important contribution is having a hand in containing June Mar Fajardo, who fired a conference-low 12 points to go with 12 rebounds.
Rookie Renz Palma made his presence felt for Blackwater with 8 points, all coming in the final quarter, on top of two rebounds and an assists.
Blackwater shot the lights out from deep, burying 13 of its 25 3-point attempts.
"We were able to contain their scorers and we held our own against their defense. It's just a good wake-up call from 4 straight losses. Finally, we were able to get over the hump. And hopefully it's a good start and get back to our winning ways," said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac.
Arwind Santos paced the Beermen, who share the top spot with the Alaska Aces and the Magnolia Hotshots behind identical 6-2 records, with 22 points 9 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Chris Ross added 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in the loss.
Blackwater (106): DiGregorio 26, Erram 24, Maliksi 11, Sena 10, Palma 8, Jose 6, Marcelo 6, Cortez 5, Cruz 5, Pinto 5, Neypes 0, Sumang 0
San Miguel (96): Santos 22, Ross 20, Lassiter 13, Fajardo 12, Lanete 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Heruela 8, Agovida 2, Semerad 2, De Ocampo 0, Mamaril 0, Pessumal 0
Quarter scores: 20-27, 43-45, 72-69, 106-96
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.