By The Philippine Star and U.S. News Agency / Asian
This time, it was Allan Mangahas’ turn to shine for Blackwater Sports as the former Mapua star exploded for 26 points to help power the Elite to a thrilling 74-68 win over Jakarta Selection in the Enjoy Jakarta Anniversary Basketball Tournament Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With Paul Zamar and Robby Celiz hounded by their taller and bulkier guards, Mangahas was left free most of the time, thus giving him the opportunity to shoot from afar – which he did in bunches in the second half.
The win was the fourth straight for the Elite of Diocedo Sy, sending them on the threshold of sweeping the six-team tournament.
Blackwater, which lost to eventual PBA D-League champion NLEX in the semis, can wrap up the title with another win against a tough South Korean squad. They were playing at press time.
“We we’re surprised with the energy of the Indons in the early part of the game, so we struggled a bit. Good thing, the boys woke up,” said coach Leo Isaac. “We’re lucky Allan was hot. He practically destroyed the Indons by himself.”
The Elite trailed in the second quarter but took control of the game in the third after Mangahas drained back-to-back baskets for a 58-57 lead going into the final quarter.
After averaging 22 points in their last two games, Zamar was held to just 10 points this time. Celiz also struggled in the early going but still finished with 12 markers.
A big revelation for Blackwater was forward Gio Ciriacruz who held his ground against his Indonesia counterparts to finish with eight points and 11 rebounds.
“Gio was very courageous, he patiently patrolled the paint against taller Indon players,” said team manager Johnson Martines. “But we needed more from him when we play against the Koreans.”
Silliman Sy, the team’s other manager, said they had to be extra cautious against the sweet-shooting and quick-passing Korean squad.
“They’re sharp and very dangerous,” said Sy.