|Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. scored 28 points and 7 rebounds as the Blackwater Elite tied their quarterfinal series against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. PBA Images|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
QUEZON CITY - The Blackwater Elite forced a rubber match in the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals as they defeated the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 100-96, in Game 2 on Tuesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Despite fouling out of the ball game, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. led his team as it lives another day in the best-of-three series.
"I have to give it to the players who played really, really well. They refused to lose tonight, ayaw pa namin talaga magbakasyon and that's a commitment that we all have, that we wanted to make it to the next phase but again, it's not going to be easy especially playing against a veteran, smart and tough Rain or Shine team - a very well-coached team," said Coach Aris Dimaunahan.
At the get-go, Blackwater knew the path that they wanted to take and opened the scoring through the efforts of Greg Smith who scored the first 5 points of the Elite in the first quarter.
The Elites kept their groove going up until the end of the quarter as they enjoyed a 9 point advantage; 24-15.
Rain or Shine began to be a threat to Blackwater through a jump shot made by Mark Borboran with over 6 minutes left to play in the quarter. Borboran's basket cut the lead down to a point; 26-25.
Chris Javier then took a three-pointer that paved way for the Elites to extend their lead back to 5 points with exactly 5 minutes to play.
But the Elasto Painters won't back down as JV Mocon scored 5 straight points, comprising of 2 field goals and a bonus shot off a foul by Parks, closing the quarter off with Rain or Shine trailing by only 3 points; 35-38.
A recharged Blackwater team faced the Elasto Painters at the start of the second half with Parks making it a 5-point advantage; 40-35 with his driving lay-up.
However, Jayjay Alejandro turned out to be an asset for Rain or Shine as he scored 9 straight points from beyond the arc to again deplete the advantage of Blackwater to just two, 55-53.
The third quarter was sealed off still with Blackwater enjoying a 4-point lead; 68-64.
Mocon and Jewel Ponferada teamed up to score 4 straight points for Rain or Shine to tie the ball game at 68-all, but the Elite were quick enough to recover through the jump shots made by James Sena and Parks to give the advantage back to Blackwater; 72-68.
Despite the combined efforts of shooters like Mocon, Borboran and Nambatac to come close and snatch the lead away from Blackwater, the Elasto Painters fell short.
"Important game [ito] para sa amin kasi wala na, kapag natalo kami, out na kami so yung focus namin, andyan kasi nung first game namin talagang inagaw sa amin yung panalo e. Kelangan talaga namin bumawi ngayon and then mag focus kami sa Game 3, dun sa do-or-die sa Thuirsday," said Mac Belo after the game.
Speaking in behalf of the Elasto Painters, Head Coach Caloy Garcia knows that the series is far from over.
"We gave up too many free throws in the fourth, I told my boys after the game that we have to learn how to finish games because we have had a lot of chances to take the lead in the final quarter but we failed to capitalise on that. But we just have to move on, I don't want to give too much pressure on them - we know what's at stake going on Thursday," said Garcia.
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