Blackwater Elite of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) began a fruitful overseas campaign after beating the BBM Viking Warriors, 87-73, at Pacific Caesar’s 50th Anniversary Tournament in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Embarking on their first of two international tournament appearances as preparation for the upcoming Governors Cup conference in the PBA, the Elite took the gold against a field of five other teams, winning the championship in a relatively close final against the BBM Viking Warriors.
In comparison, Blackwater won by 29 points during their first meeting. The Elite went undefeated in all six games played, winning by an average margin of 27.8 points per game.
The Warriors gave the Filipino team an early scare after holding the lead for the most part of the first half. After being down 0-7 in the opening minutes, BBM scored 11-straight points to take a four-point lead after the first five minutes. They were able to hold a 21-19 lead to end the first quarter.
Blackwater played much better in the second quarter behind Raymar Jose and import Henry Walker, who combined for 13 points and 11 rebounds after going scoreless during the opening quarter. They ended the first half with a slim 48-44 lead.
After going back-and-forth with the Warriors, the Elite finally took a double-digit lead at 61-49 midway through the third. They took their biggest lead at 83-64 with less than five minutes remaining in the game after James Sena nailed a hook shot following three consecutive three-pointers from Paul Zamar.
“It reminded me of last season with Mono Vampire, it feels good to know that I still have it,” said Zamar of the clutch threes, adding they expected the spirited fight the BBM Viking Warriors gave.
“It’s the championship game, regardless if they are the underdogs. It is anybody’s ball game. We’re just glad that we we’re able to pull away in the 4th quarter.”
Coming from the one of the best professional league in Southeast Asia, Blackwater were touted as favorites to win the pocket tournament, despite having only one import against two each from the Indonesian squads.
“We expected to have a target on our backs, because we are representing the Philippines and also the PBA. We had to focus every game because they will play their best against us.” Zamar added.
Allein Maliksi top-scored for Blackwater with 17 points, while Paul Zamar bucked a slow start to finish with 15 points. Henry Walker and Mike DiGregorio each tallied 11 markers.
Okasue Udun led all scorers with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while fellow import Terrel Carter added 19. Amin Prihantono was the only BBM local who finished in double figures with 10.
Blackwater Elite hopes to carry the momentum of winning the Surabaya tilt as they travel to Macau for the Asia League Super 8 tournament next week.
The week-long Surabaya tournament also featured hosts Pacific Caesar, Garuda Bandung, and Stapac Jakarta from the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL), as well as club team Flying Wheel Makassar.