A third-quarter explosion propelled the Blackwater Elite to victory, as they decimated the hapless NLEX Road Warriors, 98-88, Saturday evening at the AUF Arena during the continuation of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
After a 46-all deadlock at intermission, the Elite turned on the afterburners in the third, outscoring the Road Warriors 35-16 to open up an 81-62 lead at the start of the final chapter.
Ed Daquioag and Roi Sumang proved to be instrumental in the third for Blackwater, chipping in nine and seven points, respectively.
"If it will happen every game, I'll take that. But it's a combination of us playing well offensively, playing as a team, sharing the ball, and maybe the other team committing breakdowns since it's not just because we played correctly. It's a combination of our offense, the way we play, and defense. It's nice that in a way we were able to score at will in that third quarter," said Blackwater head coach Nash Racela at the post-game press conference.
The trend continued for his team as they scored at least 35 points in the third period for the third straight contest. Blackwater scored 41 against NorthPort, and 39 against Ginebra, respectively.
Hot shooting continued in the fourth quarter for Blackwater, with veteran KG Canaleta swishing two triples en route to a throwback 18-point, 8-rebound performance.
Don Trollano, who also contributed a team-high 18 markers, canned a triple that pushed the Elite's lead at its biggest, 93-69, midway through the fourth, to pull away for their second win in three tries. The former Gilas Pilipinas member also hauled in 11 rebounds.
"What's encouraging is that it's nice he has consistently scored in the past three games, but the instruction to all is as long as you make the right decisions, you'll play. That's how you earn your minutes. When I say making the right decisions, that includes making a pass, taking a shot or passing up on a shot because sometimes that's what only players think about," Racela said of Trollano.
For NLEX, which fell to 0-3, rookie Mike Ayonayon scored 20, and added six boards for coach Yeng Guiao. Kiefer Ravena, on the other hand, had all-around stats of 17 points, eight boards, seven assists, and four steals.
Blackwater (98) -- Trollano 18, Canaleta 18, Sumang 13, Daquioag 10, Golla 8, Belo 7, Desiderio 7, Tolomia 6, Salem 5, Magat 3, Gabriel 2, Escoto 1, Dario 0, Shaw 0, Dennison 0.
NLEX (88) -- Ayonayon 20, Ravena 17, Soyud 13, Alas 13, Porter 9, McAloney 6, Quiñahan 5, Galanza 5, Miranda 0, Paniamogan 0, Varilla 0, Ighalo 0, Semerad 0, Cruz 0, Taulava 0.
Quarter Scores: 17-15, 46-46, 81-62, 98-88.
- Blackwater had 64 bench points and 64 rebounds, both season-highs for any team.
- NLEX guard Jericho Cruz (right ankle sprain) did not suit up, while Blackwater forward Maurice Shaw remains in the hospital battling back spasms.
Blackwater vs Alaska, Oct. 20 at 6:45 p.m.
NLEX vs NorthPort, Oct. 21 at 4:00 p.m.