Blackwater's Ilagan steps up for injury-hampered Nambatac

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Blackwater's Ilagan steps up for injury-hampered Nambatac
RK Ilagan exploded for Blackwater with 15 points, eight assists and seven boards
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- New Blackwater acquisition Rey Nambatac played just five minutes against the TNT Tropang Giga on Saturday.

After pouring in 27 points and 10 rebounds in his debut against the Meralco Bolts, Nambatac went scoreless in his limited playing time due to an ankle sprain.

The Bossing, however, were still able to trounce their mighty opponents, 87-76, to win their second straight game in the PBA Philippine Cup.

With the team scrambling for answers on the backcourt, they banked on the steady hands of spitfire RK Ilagan.

Ilagan finished with 15 points, eight assists and seven boards, all in 26 minutes of playing time off the bench.

With the Tropang Giga cutting a once double-digit lead to just seven, 65-72, in the fourth quarter, Ilagan scored six big points since then, while also grabbing big rebounds and dishing out huge assists.

Ilagan even gave the Bossing a 20-point lead, 85-65, the biggest of the game that capped a 13-0 run.

The guard said he just did what the coaches told him to do to help secure the victory.

“[My performance was] with the help of the coaches, especially JVee [Casio]. He told me that I need to step up because [Nambatac] is having a difficult time returning to the game,” Ilagan said in Filipino.

“So that’s it. I just did my role, and whatever coach asked me to do, I did,” he added.

Blackwater head coach Jeff Cariaso underscored that the team played as a whole on Saturday, which resulted in their second straight win.

“Tonight was really, really a team effort. I don’t use that loosely, because it really is a necessity and a need when you play against a big team like TNT,” Cariaso said.

“I’m really happy with the way the guys are playing and, again, all credit to the players.”

Blackwater will look to continue its winning ways when the Bossing face the Converge FiberXers on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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