Justin Chua notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to help Blackwater Sports hold off a pesky Jumbo Plastic side 72-69 Tuesday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym at the Ateneo de Manila University campus.
Chua scored inside off a nice find by Allan Mangahas that gave the Elite a 71-65 cushion with only 43.6 seconds remaining.
“We’re lucky that we won. We played below par because we’re not used to this venue; it’s not the usual venue of D-League; we were not able to get a schedule for practice here so we made some adjustments…,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac.
“But still we have to commend the boys for playing intelligent basketball the last crucial parts of the game. Allan Mangahas, Justin Chua, Rob Celiz, some of the players who really wanted to get this win for us,” he added.
Blackwater earned a league-best fifth win in six games and Isaac thinks his team is in good position to finish atop the standings.
“We explained it to everybody; we like our chances. Five-one, we’re having a good schedule, again another week off, so we’ll have time to prepare.”
Kevin Ferrer, who added 11 points, sank a three to put the Elite ahead by 13, 64-51, with six minutes left as Blackwater looked to break the game wide open.
But clearly, the Giants have other plans in mind.
Marvin Hayes pulled Jumbo Plastic to within single digits, 58-66, on a trailer job before Macky Acosta scored four unanswered points to cut the deficit to just four, 62-66, with still 2:31 left.
The Elite restored order following a cold-blooded triple by Gio Ciriacruz from the right wing that made it 69-62 before Chua’s basket sealed the win.
“Gio can make the difference in crucial times,” said Isaac. Ciriacruz also finished with 11 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
The Giants slipped further in the standings as it joined Hog’s Breath in second to the last place with a 1-5 card.