MACAU - The Blackwater Elite's fourth-quarter meltdown against the Guangzhou Long Lions was not pretty but coach Bong Ramos considers it to be a valuable experience heading into the PBA Governors' Cup starting August 17.
The Elite were within 59-58 entering the final period when the Long Lions detonated a 22-1 attack that put Ramos' squad away.
"Our shots were really open during the fourth quarter, but we just didn't convert. And then they made their threes and scored inside. Then our players started veering away from the system," Ramos said after the 88-69 loss Wednesday.
"But we will learn from that. That's part of our preparation for the PBA third conference. Hopefully, the players also learn from this."
The good news is, Blackwater's crossover semifinals hopes remain alive in the 2018 Asia League Summer Super 8.
A win by the Elite against the Japanese squad Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka on Thursday will still push the Dioceldo Sy-owned PBA franchise to the crossover semis.
Blackwater though has less than 24 hours to recover mentally and physically before taking on the Japanese squad, which got knocked out of semis contention after bowing to the Samsung Thunders earlier in the day. Rizing Zephyr fell to 0-2 in Group B, while Samsung went up with an even 1-1 card after opening the tournament with a 78-67 defeat to Blackwater.
For Blackwater Fil-American guard Mike DiGregorio, they intend to build on the short tournament and vowed to come out stronger against Fukuoka.
"We didn't come here to not advance. We're gonna come tomorrow [Thursday] and win," said DiGregorio, who led the elite with 13 points against the Long Lions. "We're building towards the Governors' Cup. We're building towards coach Bong's system and adjusting to him. Every day is a learning process but we're getting better and we're working towards success."