Getting into the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals may be a distant possibility for Blackwater. But that would not stop the Elite from continuing to try.
Allein Maliksi’s big game rubbed off on some of his teammates and Blackwater avoided its usual endgame collapse to eke out a 106-100 decision over Columbian Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Maliksi finished with a game-high 29 points on top of six rebounds and five assists, Mac Belo added 22 markers and nine rebounds and rookie Paul Desiderio 10 points plus a crucial endgame play that helped snap the Elite out of a four-game slide.
In his first game of the season, Rabeh Al-Hussaini had 11 points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.
The triumph was only the second in eight games for Blackwater and left it at 11th-running spot.
Still, coach Bong Ramos was left elated by his charges’ gritty showing that was in stark contrast to their endgame collapse in a 101-103 loss to Alaska last Feb. 13.
“At least we know how to finish the game already,” noted Ramos. “We were able to finish the game strong.
Blackwater 106 – Maliksi 29, Belo 22, Deaiderio 12 Sumang 11, Al-Hussaini 11, Javier 6, Banal 5, Sena 4 Digregorio 4 Jose 1, Tratter 1 Cortez 0, 0 Alolino.
Columbian 100 – Perez 22, McCarthy 18, Khobuntin 17, Camson 13, Escoto 7, Corpuz 7, Calvo 5, Faundo 3 Cabrera 3 Agovida 2 Cahilig 0.
Quarterscores: 24-19, 51-50, 78-75, 106-100.