Journeyman forward Reil Cervantes is hopeful that Blackwater’s heartaches from the past season has served the Elite well as they continue to make history in only their 2nd year as a PBA franchise.
Cervantes supplied the much-needed scoring ammunition, while import MJ Rhett registered his 1st triple-double in the PBA to help Blackwater pull off a shock 107-101 victory over an all-Filipino Alaska side in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 6-foot-3 Cervantes buried 21 points in a solid off-the-bench effort that enabled the Elite to book the franchise’s first back-to-back wins as well as beating the Aces for the first time ever.
“Yung team efofrt namin nandun saka maganda dito, na-execute namin yung game plan namin ng mabuti,” Cervantes told FOX Sports after the game.
Rhett, Blackwater’s 23-year-old reinforcement, finished the game with 18 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists.
While the mood at the dugout was high following the team’s huge win, Cervantes said coach Leo Isaac also reminded everyone not to be contented as the Elite try to make a return trip to the playoff for the second straight time this season.
“Sabi nga ni coach Leo sa amin, maganda dahil first back-to-back wins ng franchise ito, pero di dapat kami mag-kumpiyansa at makontento dito,” added the former FEU forward.
Meantime, Blackwater’s young big man JP Erram said the team was surprised to play Alaska without comebacking import Robert Dozier, who had to sit out due to a plantar fasciitis injury on his left foot.
“Nagulat kami talaga kasi nag-prepare kami na nandun si Rob Dozier. Tinatanong ko nga sila Vic Manuel bakit di naglalaro yung import nila. Ang sabi lang niya injured or masama pakiramdam,” Erram said, who is playing for the 1st time after missing the team’s previous game due to a head injury.
The 6-foot-7 Erram couldn’t get his rhythm offensively, but managed to contribute 7 rebounds and a personal conference-high 5 blocks against the Aces.
Blackwater (2-1) shoots for a 3rd straight win next Wednesday when it clashes with struggling Star Hotshots. — By Richard Dy