Mike Cortez optimistic that Blackwater can turn things around despite rash of injuries

Veteran Mike Cortez is optimistic that Blackwater could overcome the rash of injuries that have hit the team following another setback by the Elite on Saturday against TNT.

The Elite managed to stay in the game for 3 quarters, before losing steam in the end to fall, 109-89 against powerhouse Katropa in their PBA Governors Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Hastening Blackwater’s downfall was the absence of young big man John Paul Erram, who went down with a knee injury during the first half.  Cortez followed suit after hurting his right calf early in the third quarter.

American import Eric Dawson also played through back spasm after getting accidentally hit by a TNT player in the second half.

“It didn’t help with the injuries but hopefully, we regroup and some guys step up for the guys who are injured, like me, Poy (Erram’s nickname) and Eric get some treatment and hopefully, be ready for the next game,” Cortez told FOX Sports after the game.

The six-foot Cortez said he hurt his right calf early in the third quarter after failing to warm up properly.

“I started the game but when they took me out, I sat out for a long time and then, probably was cold. And I didn’t warm up properly,” explained the 35-year-old Blackwater playmaker.

“I tried to push off and I felt something pop on my right calf.”

At 1-4, Blackwater is currently tied at 10th and 11th spots with idle Star at the bottom half of the standings. Only GlobalPort has the worst record in the season-ending conference so far with its 0-4 card.

“Coach said we just need to keep pushing and we’re still there as far as the standing is concerned,” said he top overall pick in the 2003 PBA Rookie Draft.

“A lot of teams locked up at 1 win so hopefully, we can still make a turn for the best.”

Blackwater has a few days to regroup before returning to action next Wednesday against Meralco. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava