Blackwater nails last slot to D-League q'finals

The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 29 2014 09:39 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2014 05:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Blackwater Sports clinched the last quarterfinals berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup with an easy 96-74 victory against a Cebuana Lhuillier on Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.

The Elite needed just 10 minutes to put away the Gems and slam the door on Café France, which had hoped for a Blackwater defeat so it could advance to the next round.

Blackwater Sports and Café France finished the elimination round with 8-5 records. But the Elite earned the trip to the quarters because of a better quotient.

The other quarterfinal pairing pits fourth-seed Hogs Breath Café (9-3) against No. 5 Cagayan Valley, a 78-74 winner over defending champion NLEX in the third game.

Jumbo Plastic and Hog’s Breath enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over their respective rivals.

John Pinto scored 11 points, including his team’s last four points. His free throws with 53.9 seconds remaining broke a tie and shoved the Rising Suns ahead to stay. Cagayan Valley wound up the elimination round with a 9-4 record.

The loss was only the second in 12 games for the second-running Road Warriors, who have clinched an outright semifinal berth.

In the first game, Bobby Ray Parks Jr. scored 23 points while Jethroy Rosario and Joshua Alolino had 11 apiece as the Banco de Oro cruised to an easy 83-57 victory over the Derulo Accelero in the first game.

The Bulldogs finished the campaign with a 5-8 mark while the Oilers lost their sixth straight and finished the elimination round with a 1-12 record.

“The players were well aware of the importance of this game. We were on the same page offensively and defensively,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac afterwards.

Blackwater Sports will face Jumbo Plastic in the next round. As third seed, the Giants will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage.

“The odds are tough. But I still like our chances. It’s payback time,” Isaac said.