MANILA, Philippines - Blackwater Sports dominated Café France early and cruised to an 81-60 victory to join Big Chill in second while league-leader NLEX broke away in the fourth quarter to blast Cebuana Lhuillier, 89-76, in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig yesterday.
Jeric Fortuna scattered 11 of his game-high 13 points in the first quarter and the Elite played tough defense the rest of the way to rout the Bakers, who came into the event oozing with confidence following a big win over the erstwhile unbeaten Road Warriors.
But the Elite dashed whatever hopes the Bakers had right in the opening period, coming through with a 19-2 run in the last four minutes to break the game wide-open.
Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Blackwater thus tied Big Chill at 5-2 at second, enhancing its bid for the other outright semis seat, while Café France dropped to 4-3.
“We recognized their (Café France) victory against NLEX. But we want them to know that we are a different team and they can’t expect the same result from us,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, whose wards lost just by two points to the Warriors.
“Even if we lost to NLEX, that game turned out to be an eye opener for us. It showed that we are capable to compete against the best teams in this league,” added Isaac.
NLEX, assured of the first outright semis berth, rode on the big fourth quarter run to frustrate Cebuana Lhuillier and close out its elims campaign with a 9-1 mark.
RR Garcia topscored for NLEX with 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter where the Warriors outscored the Gems, 23-14.
“We really wanted to win this game. I’m glad the guys responded well. This win fortifies our number one seeding,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
Garvo Lanete scored 14 points and Ian Sanggalang added 10 markers for NLEX.
The Gems fell to 3-4.