Blackwater gave its new coach, Jeffrey Cariaso, a fitting welcome as it booked an impressive 103-84 victory over Converge in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Puerto Rican import Chris Ortiz led the charge while JV Casio chipped in offensively and Troy Rosario provided a solid interior defense for the Bossing, who are off to a sizzling start after winning only one game in 11 matches in the previous Governors’ Cup.
All in all, the Bossing suffered a nine-month losing streak since suffering a 105-86 loss to San Miguel Beer in the Governors’ Cup on 1 February. Their last win was on 27 January — a 108-105 decision over Phoenix Super LPG — before suffering a string of misfortune.
Ortiz, a member of the Puerto Rican national team, had a solid all-around game, firing 21 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks for the Bossing, who led by as many as 27 points, 91-64, early in the fourth quarter.
But more than anything the win was a perfect welcome gift for Cariaso, who scored his first victory at the expense of the club that he guided in its very first conference in the league.
“It’s one of those things that despite it being against Converge or anyone else, I think it’s a game that you want to get under your belt a little bit because it’s the first game and it’s such a long layoff,” said Cariaso, who vowed to change the culture of the Bossing.
“We felt like we were practicing for the whole conference.”
He said winning the first game is always the hardest.
“Despite who that first game was, it was very hard that we come out on a positive note and the guys did it tonight.”
Cariaso also made special mention of Rosario, who had a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field to end up with 11 markers despite feeling under the weather.
“He was sick the last two days,” Cariaso said.
“Troy understands his role. He’s our leader, our captain, our main man. Everything we do revolves around him.”
“That’s his next level, to bring that responsibility upon his shoulders. He’s been handling it well. He’s been sick the last two days and didn’t practice on Tuesday, but to see him fight today, is already proof that he has a winning attitude.”
Casio fired 15 markers and four assists while Myk Ayonayon added 13 points and six rebounds and Rey Suerte chipped in 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bossing.