MANILA, Philippines – The Blackwater Elite were within striking distance against the Star Hotshots in their PBA Governors’ Cup game on Sunday when disaster struck early in the fourth quarter.
Trevis Simpson, the Blackwater import who had been leading the charge for the team, suffered an injury just 24 seconds into the final frame and with the Elite trailing by just five points, 70-75.
“I made a move, a move I’ve made a thousand times, and I just stopped to pass the ball, and I just felt a small pop,” Simpson would say after the game. “I knew immediately that something was wrong.”
Simpson lofted a pass to a teammate, which led to a Poy Erram basket, but immediately started hopping up and down on one foot and limped to the sideline, signaling that he was hurt. The PBA website later reported that the import likely pulled his groin.
With Simpson out, the game quickly got out of hand. The Hotshots strung together five quick points to build a 10-point lead, 80-70, and went on to win 103-86 to drop the Elite to 0-2 in the season-ending conference.
Simpson, who still finished with a team-high 24 points on top of eight rebounds, is hopeful that his injury is nothing major.
“Hopefully, it’s just a strain, and I can do better within the next couple of days,” he said. “I’ll get it checked (on Monday).”
He also remains upbeat that the Elite can still turn their campaign around despite two early losses. Blackwater bowed to Meralco, 107-78, in their first game of the Governors’ Cup last July 21.
“The first game, they punched us in the mouth. We weren’t ready at all,” Simpson admitted. “(But) I liked our effort this game. I actually thought that we would win it.”
According to Simpson, they wanted to keep the game close and put pressure on Star, in the hopes that the Hotshots will eventually make mistakes.
“The game could have gone either way, but my injury kind of hurt the team,” he acknowledged.
Nevertheless, Simpson insists that the Elite have every reason to stay confident heading into next Saturday’s showdown against San Miguel Beer.
“I know this is a good team we just played,” Simpson said of Star. “And to be down three (points) or so before I got hurt, that’s huge (for our) confidence.”
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