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Blackwater outduels NorthPort for best start in franchise history

Blackwater outduels NorthPort for best start in franchise history

BLACKWATER continued its winning ways, pulling off a great comeback against NorthPort, 113-111, to post the best start in franchise history on Wednesday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Henry Walker led the Elite back from the depths of an 18-point deficit as the former expansion franchise remained unbeaten through three games and gained a share of the conference lead with Barangay Ginebra.

The two unbeaten leaders clash on Friday, also at the Big Dome.

The Batang Pier went up, 53-35, and were still ahead, 87-79, entering the final quarter. But couldn’t close the game out as they dropped to 0-5 (win-loss) on Stanley Pringle’s return to the lineup after a stint with the national team.

“It’s a hard-earned win,” said Blackwater coach Bong Ramos. “It’s a test of character for the team. They really wanted to get that third win tonight.”

Walker finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds. His three-pointer broke a 99-99 tie and it was followed by a Mike DiGregorio jumper that gave the Elite a 104-99 lead.

Blackwater also got big shots from Chris Javier and Nard Pinto, who converted a three-pointer with 31 seconds left as Blackwater increased its lead to six points, 111-105.

Poy Erram, coming off his stint with Team Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers, and DiGregorio each had 19 points while Mac Belo added 13 points. Pinto had a career-high 13 assists for the Elite.

Rashad Woods had 31 points and 17 rebounds. His alley-oop dunk in the first quarter allowed NorthPort to grab a 17-7 edge that swelled to 18 midway through the second period. The NorthPort import already had 24 points after the first half.

Pringle had 18 points in just his second game this conference with NorthPort after his duties with the national team in the Asian Games and the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.

The scores:

Blackwater 113 – Walker 24, DiGregorio 19, Erram 19, Belo 13, Sumang 9, Pinto 8, Zamar 6, Palma 4, Javier 4, Al-Hussaini 3, Maliksi 2, Jose 0.

NorthPort 111 – Woods 31, Pringle 18, Anthony 13, Elorde 12, Arana 9, Tautuaa 8, Taha 6, Grey 5, Guinto 4, Fortuna 3, Espinas 2, Gabayni 0.

Quarterscores: 23-39; 56-59; 79-87; 113-111.