BLACKWATER leaned on a strong finish to defeat Alaska, 112-104, and clinch a spot in the best-of-3 quarterfinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Roi Sumang struck for the big plays inside the game’s last 1:57 as the Elite turned the tables on the Aces and wrapped up their seventh win in 11 outings.
With the win, the Elite made the playoff for the fifth time, finishing third overall in the elimination round of the mid-season conference. The win also primed them up for best-of-3 quarterfinal series with the team that will finish 7th.
The Aces’ slump went unabated, losing five games in a row and ending their elimination stint out of the magic 8 with their 4-7 record.
The Aces are still within striking distance at 106-104 following Sonny Thoss’ freethrow with 1:45 left.
An isolation play by Blackwater in the ensuing play saw Bobby Ray Parks Jr draw defenders, as a result of which Al-Hussaini found himself wide open. Al-Hussaini, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, did not waste time and launched a three-point shot which hit its target, giving the Elite a 109-104 lead, with 78 seconds remaining.
The Aces failed to answer in the return play, paving the way for Sumang fadeaway which gave the Elite a 111-104 cushion, 53 seconds left.
The Aces’ misfortunes persisted as they failed to connect in their offensive, with Sumang drawing a foul as the Elite secured the ball possession.
Sumang split the freethrows for what stood in the final tally.
Blackwater (112) - Parks 25, Sumang 18, Maliksi 15, Blair 14, Belo 13, Al-Hussaini 12, Digregorio 6, Desiderio 4, Cortez 3, Sena 2, Alolino 0.
Alaska (104) - Simpson 24, Banchero 18, Thoss 15, Manuel 15, Teng 11, Enciso 9, Casio 6, Racal 4, Pascual 2, Exciminiano 0, Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 27-32, 56-55, 80-78, 112-104.