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Blackwater stays afloat

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. – Mahindra vs
5:15 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs Talk ’N Text
Games Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Star
5:15 p.m. – NLEX vs Ginebra

Third year guard Carlo Lastimosa scored a career-high 38 points as Blackwater defeated Barako Bull, 116-92, to snap a five-game losing skid that kept the team in playoff contention in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot guard from College of St. Benilde converted 14-of-20 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point territory and 5-of-7 from the free throw line in 30 minutes of action.

Lastimosa, who played his first two seasons in the league with Barako Bull before being traded to Blackwater for Brian Heruela, waxed hot early by scoring 10 points that allowed Blackwater to open a 26-12 lead.

From there, Riego Gamalinda and rookie Art dela Cruz took over in the second period as they combined for 16 points and the Elite grabbed a 56-37 advantage at halftime break.

A jumper by Lastimosa early in the third frame gave them a 21-point lead.

Barako Bull, however, rallied back in the fourth period behind the 14 of 17 points by veteran guard Josh Urbiztondo.
Willie Wilson’s jumper trimmed the deficit to 83-93 with 5:26 to play.

That was the closest the Energy got as the Elite unleashed a finishing 23-5 blast behind the joint efforts of Lastimosa and dela Cruz, the team’s 9th overall pick in the last PBA Rookie Draft.

That gave Blackwater its biggest lead of the game at 27 points with 1:10 to play, which led coach Leo Isaac to pull out his ace gunner Lastimosa, who before the game averaged just 12.38 points this conference.

The win tied Blackwater with Mahindra with similar 2-7 cards, which solidified the team’s bid of earning its first playoff berth. The team has two games left, against Star on Friday and Mahindra on Sunday.
“Sayang, back-to-back sana,” said Isaac, referring to the team’s painful double overtime setback (94-102) to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Angeles City last week. “Pwede kaming nanalo dun.”
“May konti takot before the game, sa lakas ng mga teams sa

PBA, kung naipanalo namin ’yun, ’yung confidence ng mga players aakyat. Ang takot ko baka bumaba ang morale ng players.

“That’s why we really have to push them in practice sessions, we really emphasized on the importance of the last three games, telling them na puwede pa and don’t give up,” added Isaac.

The scoring output of Lastimosa erased his previous high of 32 points he had in a 105-120 defeat to Globalport last Nov. 29. Dela Cruz backed him up with 21 points while Gamalinda had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

BLACKWATER 116 – Lastimosa 38, Dela Cruz 21, Gamalinda 15, Cortez 9, Golla 9, Erram 6, Reyes 5, Cervantes 4, Sena 4, Vosotros 3, Canada 2, Agovida 0, Ballesteros 0.

BARAKO BULL 92 – Wilson 23, Urbiztondo 17, Fortuna 13, Pennisi 10, Lanete 6, Brondial 5, Forrester 4, Intal 4, Monfort 4, Baracael 2, Caperal 2, Miranda 2, Sorongon 0.

Quarters: 26-12; 56-37; 81-66; 116-92.