Mike DiGregorio made sure he would use his mother's timely advice to good use and true enough, he delivered his best performance in the PBA Philippine Cup with 26 points in Friday's stunning upset of defending champion San Miguel at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Having the right mindset and a firm believer that mother knows best allowed DiGregorio to hit one of the biggest baskets of the game - a triple from the elbow with less than two minutes remaining for a 101-92 Elite lead.
DiGregorio made five three-pointers, including two when he scored the team's last eight points that enabled the Elite to snap a four-game skid and deal the fancied Beermen a rare defeat in the season's first conference.
The three-year guard was quick to credit her mother Ercelia, who gave the younger DiGregorio an earful after being held to just two points in the Elite's 78-72 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok last Feb. 2.
"This one is for my mom," DiGregorio said after the 106-96 victory. "She's a big basketball junkie and my harshest critic. She calls me after every game and she really let me have it after the last game, she told me I wasn't playing aggressive enough and I didn't look myself the last game.
"She really let me have it, she's really blunt and straightforward but I appreciate her a lot because I came in today with the right mindset," he added.
San Miguel had brought the lead down to six twice before DiGregorio nailed the clutch jumper off passes by teammates Poy Erram and John Pinto.
The victory, the first since the shock 94-77 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Jan. 12, put Blackwater at 3-5 and still in contention to make the eight-team quarterfinals.
Blackwater moved a game behind Ginebra, Phoenix and TNT KaTropa - teams sharing sixth to eighth places at 4-4 - and half-game off ninth-placer GlobalPort, which holds a 3-4 slate.
"I really like our team's chances. I think we have a great team, I really do," he said. "If you look at our lineup I mean, we have a great team regardless of what our record says. It's just about everyday being mentally prepared and consistency." (JT)