The Blackwater Elite pounced on an import-less Alaska squad, 107-101, to pick up a second consecutive win in the 2016 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Carlo Lastimosa scored a game-high 24 points while import MJ Rhett had a big triple-double with 18 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Elite, who have now made it back-to-back wins after a win over Mahindra last Sunday.
Reil Cervantes added 21 markers – including three three-pointers in the fourth quarter – while three other Elite players finished in double figures as well.
With Alaska import Rob Dozier sitting the game out with an injury, Vic Manuel paced Alaska with 20 points while Sonny Thoss had 18 points and eight rebounds in a solid showing.
Blackwater got the jump on Alaska after a terrific start from point guard Mike Cortez, who scored 10 points in the first nine minutes of the ballgame to lead the Elite to a double-digit advantage, 20-10.
A couple of late three-pointers from Cyrus Baguio brought Alaska back into the game, although Blackwater held the lead, 27-23, at the end of the first.
The led into a tight second quarter where neither team was able to lead by more than four points.
Blackwater gained some separation in the third after it went on a 12-1 run – half of those points courtesy of Lastimosa – to take a 13-point lead, 68-55.
The Aces battled back to within five points but the Elite restored it to double-digits, 80-70, before the end of the third.
Cervantes kept Alaska at bay with some huge three-pointers for the Blackwater side, knocking down three of them in the early goings of the fourth.
In true Alaska fashion, though, the Aces made it a game in the dying minutes.
From an 11-point lead just outside the last two-minute mark, Calvin Abueva struck before Baguio followed up with a big triple. After another defensive stop, Vic Manuel hit a jumper to bring the Aces within four, 105-101, with 55 seconds remaining.
They regained possession again with a chance to inch closer but JVee Casio could not hit a three-pointer and Lastimosa all but sealed it with two free throws.
Blackwater 107 — Lastimosa 24, Cervantes 21, Rhett 18, Gamalinda 12, Cortez 10, Reyes 10, Dela Cruz 6, Canada 3, Erram 2, Tiongson 1, Golla 0.
Alaska 101- Manuel 20, Thoss 18, Baguio 16, Abueva 11, Casio 10, Banchero 9, Dela Cruz 4, Racal 4, Eman 3, Jazul 3, Eximiniano 2, Dela Rosa 1, Vanlandingham 0.
Quarters: 27-23; 51-50; 80-70; 107-101.