by Jonas Terrado
Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska
7 p.m. – SMB vs NorthPort
ANTIPOLO CITY – Blackwater made a quick turnaround after suffering its first loss two days prior and frustrated Rain or Shine, 98-92, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center here.
Allein Maliksi was one of five players who scored in double figures with 19 points as the Elite were in control for most of the way to notch their fourth win in five outings, bouncing back from Friday’s 103-98 setback to Phoenix Pulse.
The Elite took the lead for good by turning a 17-12 deficit into a 33-19 lead in the second quarter.
Blackwater’s defense also held Rain or Shine to 36 percent shooting even as Maliksi led sparkled on the offensive end.
“The challenge was how well we could bounce back from a loss and they played really, really well as a team,” said Blackwater coach Aries Dimaunahan.
Rookie Ray Parks Jr. scored 16 points despite a 3-of-10 shooting and Friday’s incident involving his girlfriend Maika Rivera and Phoenix’s Calvin Abueva.
Parks was furious after Abueva made a lewd gesture toward Rivera late in the game, prompting Phoenix management to fine the star forward P20,000.
Dimaunahan said the incident was far from Blackwater’s concerns during its build-up for the Rain or Shine encounter.
Mike DiGregorio also scored 16 points, import Alex Stepheson had 13 points and 20 rebounds and Roi Sumang added 11 for the Elite.
Import Denzel Bowles scored 27 points but the Elasto Painters slipped to a 0-2 record.
Rain or Shine got to within two, 59-57, on Norbert Torres’ two free throws with 4:18 left in the third. But Blackwater scored 17 points while allowing a single point in a four-minute span, ending on a Maliksi triple with 23 seconds to go.