PBA: Blackwater eyes more improvement after strong start

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2022 05:46 PM

Yousef Taha and the Blackwater Bossing say they are not satisfied with their strong start to the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Images.
Yousef Taha and the Blackwater Bossing say they are not satisfied with their strong start to the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Images.

MANILA - The Blackwater Bossing are confident that they are slowly but surely rewriting the narrative around their franchise, amid a strong start to the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.

With the elimination round nearing its midway point, Blackwater currently sits at joint second with a 3-1 win-loss slate. They clobbered TerraFirma on Saturday night, 107-70, to register the biggest win in the history of the franchise.

But head coach Ariel Vanguardia is the first to remind his players that they cannot be satisfied with what they have achieved so far, noting that the biggest challenges are still ahead.

"We can't celebrate too much," he said. "We know that every team has the capability to beat each other. I don't want to be a killjoy, but we haven't achieved anything yet."

It's a sentiment shared by his veteran center, Yousef Taha, who anchored their win against the Dyip with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists.

"I'm happy about it," said Taha of their 37-point win, which surpassed their 132-106 rout of NLEX in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup as the most lopsided for the franchise. "But it's just one game."

"It's not where we wanna be yet, we still have a lot to improve on. We gotta keep getting better. That's our goal right now. Just keep moving forward and keep getting better, game by game," he added.

Still, Blackwater's 3-1 start to the Philippine Cup is something to be proud of for Vanguardia and his crew. Just last conference, they were in the midst of a record-breaking 29-game losing streak, the longest in the history of the league.

Vanguardia credits their turnaround to the trust given by his players to the coaching staff, as well as the leadership of his veterans. It also helps that the Bossing kept the players that they wanted, the coach said.

"I think everybody bought in," he explained. "We kept the core, we kept the guards that we wanted."

"JVee Casio has a lot to do with it, [with] his leadership by example," the coach said, referring to the veteran point guard whom they acquired in October 2021 in a deal with Alaska. "Baser Amer [is] a veteran. And maybe unheralded, but Justin Melton, he's like a glue guy for everyone."

Blackwater is now bracing for a tough stretch that will see them play Meralco next week before taking on Phoenix Super LPG, San Miguel Beer, and Rain or Shine in a span of six days. The team's confidence is rising, however, and Vanguardia is optimistic that the Bossing can sustain their success.

"We're having fun because the guys, they like to play with each other. But still, there's a lot of room for improvement," he said. "There's a lot of room for improvement. We have to figure out how to play against the bigger teams."