Mahindra leaned on rookie guard Reden Celda and newly-acquired players Glenn Khobuntin and Eric Camson and snapped a five-game losing skid by beating Blackwater, 96-87, yesterday to keep its fading playoff hopes alive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Celda scored a career-high 18 points even as Khobuntin and Camson, who were traded from the NLEX Road Warriors in exchange Alex Mallari and Kenneth Ighalo, provided the needed energy while combining for 24 points to give the Floodbuster their second win in nine games.
Import Keith Wright had 16 points and 16 rebounds for Mahindra, which must win its final two matches to stay in the hunt, though its chances are expected to get slimmer in succeeding days.
Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche immediately buckled down to work following his arrival yesterday morning, joining the national team preparing for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship beginning Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Blatche, the former NBA campaigner who joined Gilas in 2014, arrived Sunday morning after twice delaying his arrival from the US and reportedly didn’t waste time making up lost ground at the Meralco gym in Quezon City.
Butch Antonio, Gilas team manager and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deputy executive director, confirmed Blatche’s attendance at the practice session.
MAHINDRA 96 – Celda 18, Wright 16, Khobuntin 15, Camson 9, Paniamogan 8, Corpuz 8, Caperal 6, Revilla 4, Ballesteros 4, Teng 3, Yee 3, Salva 2, Elorde 0.
BLACKWATER 87 – Smith 29, Canaleta 11, Pascual 11, Digregorio 9, Cruz 9, Sena 7, Sumang 4, Gamalinda 4, Aguilar 2, Banal 1, Buenafe 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 25-26; 48-48; 68-70; 96-87.
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