REIL Cervantes came up huge in the clutch to help Blackwater turn back Mahindra, 110-102, following a nip-and-tuck battle for most part to earn its first win in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Sunday.
The Bicolano swing man scored 18 of his 24 points in the payoff period to give the Elite the much-needed boost and separation to come up with hard-fought victory.
Carlo Lastimosa once again led Blackwater by dropping a team-high 26 points as he was consistent from start to finish.
These second year teams are now both tied at 1-1 in the team standings.
‘’We had to dig deep,’’ said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac of his team’s win. ‘’We lacked big men, but we were able to cope up.’’
With the game still hanging in the balance with under four minutes left, Blackwater was only ahead by two, 93-91, when Cervantes, who was scorching hot in the fourth, connected with two crucial triples to stretch the Elite’s lead to 99-91.
Gutsy rookie Arthur Dela Cruz then provided the back-breaker as he drained one from downtown as well, to push the Elite’s lead further to double-digits, 102-91, and cap off the game-turning 9-0 run with exactly two minutes remaining.