A SLIGHT misunderstanding between Henry Walker and John Pinto turned out to be the spark each needed in stepping up big-time for Blackwater.
"Iyun 'yung wala kami nu'ng last conference."
Walker notched game-highs of 35 points, 17 rebounds and seven steals while Pinto finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Elite stunned San Miguel Beer 103-100 Wednesday for their second straight upset win in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mike Digregorio added 21 points while Poy Erram came up just one rebound shy of a double-double in his first game in the conference as Blackwater followed up its 104-98 stunner over TNT last Aug. 24 to join idle Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok and Barangay Ginebra at the top.
The Elite doubling their win-total in the last Commissioner's Cup was only realized, however, when Arizona Reid and Arwind Santos each missed their game-tying triple tries inside the nine seconds.
"Iyung bini-build naming character ng team, nagkakaroon na. Sana tuloy-tuloy na," said Blackwater coach Bong Ramos.
That came to the fore after an early exchange between Walker and Pinto, when the former chastised the former Arellano standout for not going hard for a loose ball.
The two quickly patched up their differences, however, and led Blackwater's spirited charge from as much as 10 points down in the third quarter.
"One good thing there is, they were able to recover," said Ramos. "Emotional lang masyado mga players ko dahil gusto nilang manalo."
Despite being saddled by foul trouble Reid still notched 26 points while Christian Standhardinger added 20 and Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Kelly Nabong each scored at least 12 points. But they couldn't prevent SMB from falling to a 1-1 start.
Ramos also admitted the absence of Beermen center June Mar Fajardo was a big factor. "Kaya siguro kami nanalo walang Fajardo," he quipped.
His team being able to hold down SMB after it scored 125 points in a 12-point victory over NLEX in its conference debut last Saturday was also cited by Ramos. "Konting angat na lang... kung inabot sila ng kahit 110 points, talo kami," he said.
How to sustain the momentum is now Ramos' main concern, more so now that his team has to go on a 12-day break as the league gives way to the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifiers before taking on NorthPort on Sept. 19.
"Marami pa kaming bubunuin... masyado pang marami, malayo pa," stated Ramos.
How his team was able to keep its composure despite falling behind by 72-82 late in the third period should please Ramos.
Walker was main factor as he made it just an eight-point 74-82 difference after the third period and then scored 10 of his output in the fourth to stoke Blackwater's drive.
Erram, Paul Zamar, Pinto and Digregorio also got into the act, but it was Walker's lone triple of the game, followed by his three-point play that made it a 101-95 count, 2:33 to go.
Standhardinger and Lassiter kept SMB within 100-101, but Erram's free throws off his recent Asian games teammate Standhardinger pegged what would prove to be the final count, still 19.8 ticks left.(NC)
Blackwater 103 - Walker 35, Digregorio 21, Pinto 15, Erram 10, Zamar 8, Maliksi 6, Jose 4, Al-Hussaini 2, Belo 2, Cortez 0, Sumang 0.
San Miguel 100 - Reid 26, Standhardinger 20, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 12, Nabong 12, Heruela 7, Ross 6, Santos 4.
Quarters: 27-25, 43-46, 74-82, 103-100.