Blackwater whips Taipei, finishes 5th in Seri Mutiara Champions Cup

KUALA LUMPUR—Carlo Lastimosa banged in 13 of his team-high 20 points in the final period as Blackwater whipped pesky Chinese Taipei-Dacin Tigers, 80-71 to cop fifth place in the 2016 Seri Mutiara Champions Cup Sunday at the MABA Stadium.

Using his dribbling skills and quick first step to elude his defender, the six-foot Lastimosa provided the timely baskets, including a floater in traffic with 40 seconds to go for a 78-70 cushion.

“Makikita mo na kapag lahat naka-focus, lalabas talaga ang laro nila. Maganda itong tournament na preparasyon para sa next season namin,” Blackwater coach Leo Isaac said after the game.

The Elite wound up with a 2-2 record overall.  Their other victory came at the expense of Australia Perth Cockburn Cougars, 73-64 at the close of the preliminary round on Friday night.

Blackwater, runner-up in the initial staging last year, opened the tournament with back-to-back defeats to defending champion NS Matrix (82-76) and China-Guangzhou Securities (91-67).

The Matrix and Guangzhou Securities were playing as of posting time in the championship round.

Free agent pick up Raymond Aguilar provided the energy and hustle off the bench to finish with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while starting slotman James Sena added 17.

Rookie Art Dela Cruz chipped in 10 points and six steals, to go along with five assists.

Isaac has high hopes that Blackwater will have a much better showing next season, especially since it owns the no. 1 pick for this year’s PBA Rookie Draft set on Oct. 30.

The Elite will also be selecting first in the special draft, which will feature members of Gilas 5.0 led by Mac Belo, Miko Tolomia, Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, Roger Pogoy, Russell Escoto, among others. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava