PBA: 'Pumapalag na' - Vanguardia takes pride in Blackwater's near upset of Ginebra

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2022 01:27 PM

Baser Amer and the Blackwater Bossing were a minute away from pulling off an upset of Barangay Ginebra. PBA Images.
Baser Amer and the Blackwater Bossing were a minute away from pulling off an upset of Barangay Ginebra. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- They weren't quite able to get the job done, but the Blackwater Bossing could still be proud of how they played against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Sunday night.

This, according to head coach Ariel Vanguardia who believes that Blackwater "grew as a team" in the wake of a painful 85-82 loss to Ginebra in the 2022-23 PBA Philippine Cup. 

"I'm proud of my boys," said Vanguardia, whose team led by as much as 10 points against Ginebra in the third quarter but couldn't hold on in the closing stretch.

"Sabi ko sa kanila, this game could have changed our franchise, our franchise image. 'Di ba? But still, I think we achieved that," he said. "That's a champion team, and I'm proud."

"I'm proud of the way we fought despite that we didn't have the full roster. But, you know, I think we grew today. That's important. I think we grew as a team."

The Bossing held an 82-79 lead with just 62 seconds left off back-to-back field goals by guard Joshua Torralba, but they committed a bevy of errors in the closing minute. A foul by JVee Casio led to two free throws by Scottie Thompson, and Baser Amer threw the ball away with 30 seconds to go, paving the way for Japeth Aguilar's go-ahead jumper with 8.2 seconds left.

They still had a chance, but Amer again turned the ball over, losing control of the rock on the sideline. Stanley Pringle iced the game at the free throw line, as Casio's last ditch attempt at a game-tying three fell short.

"We were there, we were there. If not for the crucial turnovers in the endgame, we could have won this game also," said Vanguardia.

"Pero ganoon talaga eh. At least, hindi na 'yung tambak, hindi na 'yung hindi lumalaban. Ngayon, pumapalag na 'yung team, 'di ba?" he added.

Blackwater opened their All-Filipino campaign with an 85-78 upset of the TNT Tropang GIGA, a fitting follow-up to their shocker of Magnolia in their final game of the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup in March. That 101-100 result over the Hotshots snapped a 29-match losing streak for the Bossing.

Though he wished that his team could have made it three wins in a row, Vanguardia said he is pleased with their 1-1 win-loss record -- especially as their first two opponents were no joke. TNT is the reigning All-Filipino champion, and Ginebra ruled the Governors' Cup.

"We'll still take it, 'di ba. But we could've been 2-0. At least, we're not 0-2," said Vanguardia.

They must now move forward, said Vanguardia, and ensure that they can build on the strong efforts that they displayed against TNT and Ginebra.

"Back to the drawing board," said the coach. "I'm proud of how we played today."

"Deserving sana manalo ang mga bata eh," he also said. "'Yun ang masakit eh. Dahil I felt that we could have gotten this, and I think the team deserved, sana, na manalo. But well, hindi lang talaga pinalad."

The Bossing will play NorthPort on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.