Blackwater's John Pinto drives into NorthPort's Sean Anthony in Wednesday's PBA match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
PBA Media Bureau
Blackwater turns back NorthPort in return of National cagers
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2018 - 7:00pm

Games tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:30 p.m. – Columbian Dyip vs San Miguel

7 p.m. – Blackwater vs Ginebra 

MANILA, Philippines — Blackwater charged back from an 18-point deficit late in the first half and found unlikely heroes in Chris Javier and John Pinto at crunch time as the Elite nipped the NorthPort Batang Pier, 113-111, for a third straight win in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

Henry Walker, Mike Digregorio and Poy Erram carried the cudgels early on before Javier and Pinto seized the moment at endgame as the Elite sustained their surprise hot run and caught up with the Barangay Ginebra Kings ahead of their exciting matchup tomorrow also at the Big Dome.

It is Blackwater’s best start in a conference since joining the league in 2014.

Javier, a sparingly used player since turning pro as the second-round draft selection by Magnolia in 2016, knocked in two big baskets to make it 108-101 for Blackwater with 1:47 left to play.

Then Blackwater was only up by three at 108-105 when Pinto drilled in a trey with time down to 31.5 seconds, capping a solid all-around game marked by a career-high 13 assists, eight points and seven rebounds.

“When I came in the team, I was telling our coaches that guy (Javier) is a good player pero bakit ganyan ang nilalaro niya. Then I talked to him, telling him ‘when I call your name, be ready,’” said Blackwater coach Bong Ramos.

“As for Pinto, he’s long been a player you can rely on. He has a big heart,” Ramos also said.

Pinto’s and Javier’s heroics preserved the Elite’s fightback from 18 points down at 35-53 and the big numbers of Walker (24 points and 15 rebounds), Digregorio (19 markers, six boards and three assists) and Erram (19 points and seven rebounds).

“When we came back from an 18-point deficit, we adjusted to playing with two guards and three bigs. At endgame, I put in Chris Javier. We made adjustments that perhaps surprised NorthPort. They didn’t see it in our first two games,” said Ramos.

“What’s good with our team is we have players that can play multi positions. I can go small; I can go big. We have flexibility,” Ramos added.  

The Elite wiped out their 18-point second-quarter deficit right in the next quarter only fall behind by a big margin again, 79-89, at the start of the payoff quarter.

But behind Erram, Walker and Digregorio, Blackwater came through with another decisive charge to again get back into the fight entering the homestretch.


The scores:

BLACKWATER 113 - Walker 24, DiGregorio 19, Erram 19, Belo 13, Sumang 9, Pinto 8, Zamar 6, Palma 4, Javier 4, Al-Hussaini 3, Maliksi 2, Jose 2.

NORTH PORT 111 - Woods 31, Pringle 18, Anthony 13, Elorde 12, Araña 9, Tautuaa 8, Taha 6, Grey 5, Guinto 4, Fortuna 3, Espinas 2, Gabayni 0.

Quarterscores: 23-39, 56-59, 79-87, 113-111

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