BULACAN, Philippines - Player coach Manny Pacquiao has notched his first win in professional basketball.
The Pacquiao-led expansion team KIA Sorento came out firing in the second half and pulled the rug from underneath fellow newcomer Blackwater Elite to win their PBA debut game, 80-66, in the 2014 Philippine Cup on Sunday, October 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
PBA sophomore playmaker LA Revilla led a mighty second half comeback for the Sorentos, who were down by as much as 13 in the first half. Revilla spearheaded a 38-17 third quarter blast that put KIA on the driver's seat for good.
Revilla finished with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting along with 7 rebounds.
"I'm just overwhelmed by the moment. I'm thankful at the same time and I'm just glad we won," said Revilla, who was drafted the Globalport Batang Pier in 2013 and played only 3 games with them last season.
"I don't know what happened. We trusted the system, we trusted the coach and the result just happened."
While many considered them to be the weakest link in the league this season, KIA proved many doubters wrong as they recovered from a sloppy start with a miserable 22% first half shooting and just 5 assists.
But the Sorentos, who ended the game with 16 assists, pulled it together and turned a 34-25 halftime deficit into a 63-51 advantage entering the fourth.
They never relented after that despite Blackwater's attempts at mounting a rally.
"Naniwala sila na kaya nila manalo dito sa PBA. Sana maging simula na 'to. Sana marami pang panalo ang mangyari dito sa KIA," said assistant coach Glenn Capacio. (They believed they can win here in the PBA. I hope this is the start. I hope KIA plenty more wins.)
Hans Thiele and Reil Cervantes contributed 13 points apiece. Thiele also had 9 rebounds to his name. Rudy Lingganay added 12 markers.
For Blackwater, former Ateneo Blue Eagles Juami Tiongson and JP Erram topscored with 10 markers each.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao started for his team and played for exactly 6:46 minutes - all in the first period - and wound up with two turnovers and a foul. He had no attempts from the field. - Rappler.com