BIÑAN, Laguna -- On import Henry Walker’s perfect day, Blackwater had a good time in the Petron Saturday Special out-of-town game in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena.
Walker finished with a team-high 26 points, including a perfect 9-of-9 from the field and 11 rebounds as the Elite ended a two-game skid with a 120-99 win over Columbian.
With a 7-3 win-loss slate, the Elite climbed into a share of third place with Alaska Milk and Phoenix in the team standings and stayed in the running for the twice-to-beat quarterfinal
Four other players -- Mac Belo (16), Allein Maliksi (13), Paul Zamar (13) and Mike Digregorio (11) -- also scored in double figures for the Elite, who led by as many as 31 points, 79-48, midway in the third quarter.
Akeem Wright produced 28 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Dyip, who ended their disappointing season with a 1-10 slate in the import-laden conference.
A barrage of three-pointers early in the game enabled Blackwater to open up a 33-20 lead after the first period.
The Elite pulled away for good with a 63-42 advantage at halftime.
Hostilities continue today with Magnolia and Barangay Ginebra, the top two teams in the conference, battling each other at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots are 8-2, while the Gin Kings are 7-2, making today’s 6:45 p.m. encounter a battle for the top spot.
“It’s obviously a critical game for us in many levels,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone when asked about the Gin Kings’ meeting with the Hotshots in the penultimate playdate of the eliminations.
“It’s Manila Classico and it’s always a big game when we play Magnolia,” added Cone, who also called the shots for the Hotshots before taking over the job for the league’s most popular ballclub.
Cone, however, is worried that the Gin Kings will be playing only their first game in 15 longs days, or since suffering a 97-104 setback to Rain or Shine last Oct 13.
“We haven’t played for 15 days and so we need to sharpen our game before the playoffs,” explained Cone.
The Gin Kings will be gunning for their eighth win in 10 outings which would guarantee them the No. 1 position in the top four.
That means they need to win only once in the quarterfinal round against the team that will finish No. 8 after the elimination stage.
For the Hotshots, it will be the last game in the elimination round and a win over the Gin Kings will assure them of the No. 1 spot regardless of the outcome of Ginebra’s game against Talk N Text on Nov. 4
Blackwater (120) --Walker 26, Belo 16, Maliksi 13, Zamar 13, Digregorio 11, Erram 9, Pinto 8, Cortez 6, Javier 5, Jose 5, Palma 5, Sumang 3, Sena 0, Cruz 0, Banal 0.
Columbian (99) -- Wright 28, King 11, McCarthy 11, Reyes 9, Khobuntin 7, Gabriel 7, Cabrera 6, Corpuz 5, Tubid 4, Ababou 4, Sara 3, Celda 2, Escoto 2, Cahilig 0.
Quarterscores: 33-20, 63-42, 93-69, 120-99.