Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone proved prophetic on his pre-game words, considering Blackwater a very dangerous team.
Blackwater stood its ground against Ginebra, clipping the Kings' big men and big guns in pulling off an amazing 94-77 triumph in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last night.
Aggressive and smart, the Elite roared to a 13-point lead right in the first half, and played tougher and better at the finish to complete one of the biggest wins by the Ever Bilena franchise in the local pro league.
With the win, Blackwater forced a heavy five-way tie at second place with Ginebra, Magnolia, NLEX and Phoenix Petroleum at 2-1.
"We had a good finish in 2017 and a good start in 2918. Hopefully, we can maintain it, " said Poy Erram, a catalyst in their 17-point conquest of the reigning Governors Cup back-to-back champs.
The young 6-foot-7 center held his own against Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, coming through with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, leading Blackwater to a second straight win following their 92-87 victory over Rain or Shine on Dec. 29.
"The win means a lot to us. It will boost the confidence of the players and everyone in the team, " Erram said.
With confidence and determination, the Elite ended the Kings' unbeaten run in the tourney and handed them their first defeat since their 2017 Governors Cup title run.
"We just followed coach Leo Isaac's game plan. We stuck with the system and we played with unlimited effort," said Erram.
Mac Belo and Allein Maliksi had their own big games, with the former churning out 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists while the latter came through with 17 markers, seven boards and three dish-offs.
The whole team outsmarted, outworked and outplayed the Kings.
Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson delivered their usual numbers, but the team visibly lacked the effort shown in their two previous games.
A poor output by their bench didn't help the Ginebra cause either.
Maliksi provided tremendous boost for the Elite coming off the bench.*pba.com
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