Expansion team Blackwater closed out its campaign on a high note when it stunned playoff-bound Meralco, 84-72, last night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Marcus Douthit produced 27 points and 14 rebounds while center JP Erram scored a career-high 21 points, with seven rebounds and five blocks as the Elite finished their campaign with a 3-8 record.
Blackwater’s performance was obviously a marked improvement from the Philippine Cup when it failed to win in all 11 matches.
“Going into this game, regardless of being eliminated, gaining the experience and giving their (Elite players) hundred percent is part of the building process we are undergoing,” said Blackwater mentor Leo Isaac.
“Hopefully we can bring this to the next conference. We just wanted to end the second conference on a high note. We’ll enjoy the 10-day break, and then we’ll plunge back to practice on April 6.
“Maybe we can have a fresh start and new level of confidence (next conference),” added Isaac.
Reil Cervantes added 13 points off the bench since he was traded from Blackwater for Alex Nuyles.
Blackwater will have the luxury of signing an import with unlimited height for the Governors’ Cup since the team finished as one of the four-worst teams in the first two conferences.
Isaac said that while he is pleased with the performance of the 6-foot-10 Douthit, who took over from the injured Chris Charles, it is up to the management led by team owner Dioceldo Sy to decide whether to stick with the naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas.
“Team management will meet with the coaches on Friday, by then baka may decision na,” said Isaac, who added that there is also a possibility for them to avail the Asian reinforcement.
“We have some names on our list, and if it pushes through, (we’re eyeing) a player from the Middle East na magaling siya lumaro. He played for his national team,” said Isaac, who refused to name the Asian import.
Meralco ended the elims with a 6-5 record, losing five of its final six games after a 5-0 start. The loss, however, proved meaningless for the Bolts as they had already secured a best-of-three quarterfinal duel with sister team NLEX Road Warriors.
The quarterfinals begin tomorrow at the Big Dome.
Jared Dillinger led Meralco with 15 points, Sean Anthony and Mike Cortez added 13 points apiece, while import Josh Davis had 11 and 20 boards.
BLACKWATER 84 – Douthit 27, Erram 21, Cervantes 13, Heruela 7, Acuna 6, Bulawan 5, Gamalinda 3, Laure 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Golla 0.
MERALCO 72 – Dillinger 15, Anthony 13, Cortez 13, Davis 11, Wilson 7, Ferriols 5, Caram 3, Reyes 2, David 2, Buenafe 1, Ildefonso 0, Sena 0, Hugnatan 0, Macapagal 0.
Quarters: 26-23; 50-40; 66-46; 84-72.
ALASKA 104 – James 29, Baguio 17, Abueva 16, Jazul 10, Hontiveros 9, Casio 5, Banchero 4, Thoss 4, Exciminiano 4, Manuel 2, Menk 2, Baclao 2, Eman 0, Dela Cruz 0.
GINEBRA 98 – Dunigan 32, Baracael 18, Aguilar 17, Tenorio 10, Urbiztondo 8, Slaughter 7, Caguioa 4, Monfort 2, Pena 0, Helterbrand 0, Ababou 0, Ellis 0.
Quarters: 29-23, 52-39, 78-69, 104-98