The Blackwater Elite continued their unbeaten run in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup, earning the top spot after a 118-110 victory over the Columbian Dyip Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Import Alex Stepheson and rookie Ray Parks combined for 49 points in the win that improved Blackwater's record to 3-0.
Stepheson finished with a double-double of 26 points and 21 rebounds, alongside seven blocks and three assists. Parks delivered 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
"Congratulations to our players for playing well tonight," said Blackwater coach Aris Dimaunahan. "The challenge really was to get this win. I reminded the guys to take care of business from the get-go until the final buzzer."
The Elite pulled away late in the third quarter as Mac Belo kicked off an 11-2 run that gave them a double-digit edge. They led by as many as 13 points after three straight 3s from Roi Sumang and Allein Maliksi.
Rashawn McCarthy sparked the Dyip's comeback efforts, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the fourth. Kyle Barone even cut the deficit to just one with less than four minutes remaining. However, Blackwater responded with 10 unanswered points, capped by a dagger triple from Belo, to keep the game out of reach.
It was a total team effort for the Elite as three more players contributed in double digits. Belo and Maliksi had 19 points apiece, while Sumang added 11.
"I'm just happy with what we've done for the past two weeks, getting three wins," said Dimaunahan. "It's a nice thing to have before we get another back-to-back games come next week. I think the guys are really having the chemistry for us to get those wins, and hopefully, we could build on it and get to the next level of playing hard and smart basketball."
Baron topped with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists for Columbian, which remained winless after three outings.
Blackwater 118 - Stepheson 26, Parks 23, Belo 19, Maliksi 19, Sumang 11, Digregorio 9, Tratter 5, Al-Hussaini 2, Javier 2, Alolino 2, Cortez 0, Sena 0, Banal 0, Dario 0.
Columbian 110 - Barone 21, McCarthy 20, Perez 17, Khobuntin 10, Celda 10, Camson 7, Cabrera 6, Escoto 6, Faundo 4, Calvo 4, Cahilig 3, Corpuz 2, Gabriel 0.
Quarterscores: 28-26, 57-54, 89-79, 118-110.
- Ray Parks unleashed three straight 20-point performances, averaging 23.7 points in his first three games in the PBA.
- Blackwater took advantage of Columbian's turnover-prone ways, scoring 26 points off 20 errors. The Elite also had a 20-8 advantage in fast break points.
Blackwater - May 31 (Friday) vs Phoenix Fuel Masters at Mall of Asia Arena
Columbian - June 1 (Saturday) vs NLEX Road Warriors at Mall of Asia Arena