ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Blackwater refused to be the first victims of NLEX in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup after breezing through a 132-106 blowout at the Ynares Center here on Saturday, June 8.
Ray Parks notched a new career-high of 29 points on top of 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals as the Elite claimed solo lead in the standings with a 5-1 record and kept the Road Warriors winless in 5 games.
Off a 63-63 deadlock early in the 3rd quarter, Parks scored 5 unanswered points before scattering another 5 points in a crucial 22-8 run Blackwater used to bury NLEX by 14 points.
The Road Warriors managed to pull within 8 points in the final frame off a Tony Mitchell dunk, 94-102, but the Elite pulled away for good and stretched their lead to as many as 30 points, 129-99, with less than two minutes left.
Alex Stepheson backstopped Parks with 21 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, while Allein Maliksi provided spark off the bench with 21 points in the first game of the Petron Blaze Saturday Special.
Mac Belo finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds, Mike Digregorio added 11 points, and Gelo Alolino and Rabeh Al-Hussaini delivered 8 points each in the win.
Mitchell paced an NLEX squad still without head coach Yeng Guiao with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench, while Cyrus Baguio chimed in 19 points.
Baguiao turned back the hands of time right after the break as he singlehandedly erased a 63-53 halftime lead by Blackwater by scoring 10 straight points – highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers.
But the Road Warriors could not complete the comeback with Guiao returning to the team from his European cruise still without a win.
Blackwater 132 - Parks 29, Stepheson 21, Maliksi 21, Belo 14, Digregorio 11, Al-Hussaini 8, Alolino 8, Tratter 6, Cortez 5, Sena 3, Salem 3, Sumang 2, Desiderio 1, Dario 0.
NLEX 106 - Mitchell 27, Baguio 19, Tiongson 14, Ighalo 10, Monfort 8, Quinahan 8, Galanza 6, Rios 5, Soyud 5, Erram 4, Taulava 0, Varilla 0, Paredes 0, Paniamogan 0, Lao 0.
Quarters: 33-19, 63-53, 93-80, 132-106
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.