MANILA, Philippines – Blackwater Elite was one of the feel-good stories in the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup after they nearly pulled off an upset of eventual finalist Meralco in the quarterfinals.
With import Henry Walker leading the way, the Elite pushed the Bolts to the limit in two games, with Meralco needing a career game from Baser Amer to win their do-or-die game, 104-96, and advance to the semifinals.
The Elite are now hoping to build on that inspiring performance in the upcoming Philippine Cup, where rookie big man Raymar Jose will now join them in their campaign.
“Naghahanap kami talaga ng big man,” Blackwater coach Leo Isaac told ESPN 5. “Si Raymar, may magandang collegiate record siya, at member siya ng Gilas team.”
“So siya ‘yung isang big man na feeling namin, makakatulong sa kampanya ng Blackwater,” he added.
Blackwater took Jose, a physical bruiser from Far Eastern University (FEU), with the third pick in the draft, opting to take him over players like Jason Perkins and Jeron Teng.
In the Elite, he reunites with former FEU teammate Mac Belo, while also shoring up a relatively thin frontline anchored by Poy Erram.
“‘Yung pangarap ko, andito na ako. Sobrang saya ko,” Jose said upon being drafted.
With Jose in the fold, Isaac believes they can build on their Governor’s Cup campaign and at least, do better in the upcoming All-Filipino Conference than they did last season. In the 2016-17 Philippine Cup, the Elite managed only a 5-6 record and missed the quarterfinals.
“Gusto lang namin maging competitive, makalaban namin sila, at makapagbigay kami ng magandang laban,” said Isaac.
“Hopefully, ma-continue namin ‘yung magandang performance namin noong nakaraang conference,” he added.
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