26 March 2015

Bolts 72, Blackwater 84

Gary David vs Blackwater
Wanting to end its campaign on a high note, Blackwater did just that, recording its third win in the Commissioner’s Cup by beating Meralco, 84-72, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on 25 March 2015.

Already eliminated from the playoffs race and sitting at the cellar of the team standings, the Elite clobbered the Bolts to end the eliminations at 3-8. It was also obvious that the Bolts are using the game to test some plays and utilize all their available players, such as Ryan Buenafe and Mark Macapagal.

Once again, Marcus Douthit made his imprint in the game, finishing with 27 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, while rookie JP Erram recorded a career-high 21 markers, seven boards, and five rejections.

"Going into this game, regardless of being already eliminated, we just want to continue on gaining more experience and learning more each game," said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac. "I just told our players to keep their 100-percent effort and give their very best. This is part of building process which we are undergoing and hopefully, we can continue this on the third conference.”

Newly acquired Reil Cervantes also made an impact with his 13 points, while another rookie Brian Heruela, who leads the conference overall in assists, had an all-around game once more with his seven markers, five assists, four boards, and three steals.

The Elite, who improved on their 0-14 stint in the Philippine Cup, came out of the gates firing and erected a 10-point halftime lead early before pulling away in the second half, leading by as big as 22, 68-46.

Meralco still tried to claw its way back to the game as the Bolts trimmed the lead to just 12, but Blackwater had the game clock on their side as it bagged its third franchise victory in the PBA.

Jared Dillinger topped the Bolts with his 15 points and seven rebounds while Sean Anthony and Mike Cortez both ended up with 13.

Josh Davis finished with 11 points and 20 rebounds.

The second conference proved to be quite an eventful one for the Elite, as they finally notched their inaugural PBA victory and even drubbed Philippine Cup champs San Miguel for their first-ever win in the pros. They also took down fellow expansion team Kia before this stifling of Meralco.

After finishing at the bottom of the standings for the first two conferences, Blackwater will once again be allowed to tap an import with no height limit, aside from the luxury of securing the services of an Asian import which has a 6-foot-3 restriction.

"We just wanted to end the second conference on a high note and enjoy the 10 days that we’ll be having going to the Holy Week. (Then we) plunge back to practice on April 6. Maybe we can have a fresh start and a new level of confidence going to the third conference," Isaac said.

Despite losing to Blackwater, Meralco (6-5) already advanced to the quarterfinals and, as the fifth seed, will face sister team NLEX in a best-of-three series.

The Road Warriors trumped the Bolts, 89-76 in their only meeting this conference where Josh Davis still played hurt from his lower back injury.

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