The Blackwater Elite pumped some life into their playoff hopes after surviving a late rally by the NLEX Road Warriors, 104-98, in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elite, who improved to 2-6 for 10th place, leaned on the trio of Greg Smith, KG Canaleta and Mike Di Gregorio who combined for 70 points as the league returned to action from the All-Star break.
Smith tallied 24 points and 18 boards, Canaleta nailed 24 markers spiked by five triples and Di Gregorio made 22 points fueled by four three-pointers.
Blackwater had led by 18 points in the third quarter, 84-66, after Canaleta and Di Gregorio waxed hot from downtown, racking up a total of four triples in a huge third quarter run.
The Road Warriors slowly chipped away Blackwater’s lead, and made things interesting in the final two minutes. They were able to trim their deficit to 10 points with just 2:46 left, and went on to score six unanswered points to come within four, 102-98, with 1:26 remaining.
But despite getting stops, NLEX couldn’t hit a basket, with Wayne Chism, Kevin Alas and Jansen Rios all missing good attempts.
Mark Cruz sealed the final score with two free throws.
The defeat only extended the woes of NLEX which slid to league-worst 0-8 record.