Merry Mahindra Christmas as Floodbuster stun Elite in OT
Paul Lintag on Dec 25, 2016 05:54 PM
Alex Mallari tied his career high of 23 points as Mahindra finally got on the board for the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
Well, it was a Christmas miracle for Mahindra.
Playing at the venue where they got their first PBA win, the Floodbuster staged an epic fourth-quarter rally to stun the Blackwater Elite in the Philippine Cup, 97-93, Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Down 64-79 with eight minutes to go in regulation, Mahindra went on a 19-4 run the rest of the way to force overtime at 83 apiece. With extra five minutes to work with, veterans Alex Mallari and Ryan Arana led the charge as the Floodbuster finally broke through in the All-Filipino conference, winning their first game after six attempts.
Mallari ended up tying his career high of 23 points for Mahindra with Arana adding 19. Both players combined to score 11 of the team's 14 points in extra time.
This win also marked the franchise's second victory at the Philippine Arena in two games, both of which came at the expense of Blackwater. Two years ago during the opening of the PBA's 40th season, the then Kia Sorento beat the Elite, 80-66, in a battle of two expansion teams.
"I'd want to thank God for such a great blessing to the team, our organization, getting this first win. I give so much credit to our player's heart," said top deputy Chris Gavina.
"We were able to find the right combination to play. It wasn't necessary our best five guys out there, but it was our best team that wound up finishing the game," he added.
Tied at the half, Blackwater started to take control in the third quarter behind a balanced scoring effort. With Mac Belo leading the charge in the final period, the Elite were able to unload an 11-0 run to take that 15-point lead with eight minutes to go before Mahindra staged a late comeback.
Aside from Mallari and Arana, Nico Salva also submitted a fine game for the Floodbuster, finishing with 14 points off the bench.
Art Dela Cruz led five Elite players in double figures with 18 while Nard Pinto scored 15 points. Belo added 14, 11 coming in the last 12 minutes of regulation.
MAHINDRA 97 - Mallari 23, Arana 19, Salva 14, Eriobu 9, Revilla 9, Yee 8, Elorde 6, Nimes 4, DiGregorio 3, Escoto 2, Ballesteros 0, Celda 0, Deutchman 0, Paniamogan 0, Webb 0.
BLACKWATER 93 - Dela Cruz 18, Pinto 15, Belo 14, Sumang 12, Sena 10, Pascual 9, Buenafe 6, Aguilar 3, Banal 2, Cervantes 2, Gamalinda 2, Ababou 0, Forrester 0, Miranda 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 41-41, 59-66, 83-83, 97-93.
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