Blackwater opens PBA preseason campaign with a win over NLEX

The PBA is bracing for its upcoming conference after hosting its PBA On Tour games (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Blackwater Bossing wasted no time showing their off-season development and handed the NLEX Road Warriors a loss, 93-88, during the PBA On Tour preseason last May 21, 2023, held at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

Despite letting their 18-point lead slip away, the rejuvenated Blackwater squad buried clutch baskets down the stretch to recover and weather the storm.

With only five minutes remaining in the game and the Bossing clinging to a five-point lead, 83-78, baskets from Ato Ular, RK Ilagan, Joshua Torralba, and James Sena helped Blackwater ice the game and avoid a meltdown.

It was all Blackwater in the first half as their blazing offense caught the Road Warriors off guard when their three-pointers just kept on falling at will.

Newly-acquired high-flying swingman Tyrus Hill also sparked the Blackwater rally midway through the second frame as his athletic drives to the basket wowed the crowd present in Caloocan.

However, the Road Warriors finally regained their rhythm in the third quarter and got back within striking distance after Sean Anthony converted a basket in the paint.

Hesed Gabo continued the fight back from the Road Warriors after completing a three-point play in the 10th-minute mark of the final quarter when he crossed past Ilagan from the left elbow.

When NLEX officially went back into the ball game, Blackwater sank timely baskets to calm the fire that the Road Warriors sparked.

Mike Ayonayon was also huge for the Bossing as the crafty scorer churned in 16 markers including several responses from the NLEX offensive snowball.

Meanwhile, Ilagan contributed 13 points including a dagger three-pointer that extended Blackwater’s lead in the last three minutes of the ball game.

NLEX will look for their first win of the preseason on May 26, 2023, as they take on the retooled Rain or Shine Elastopainters at the Ynares Center in Pasig.