All eyes on Elite

September 25, 2018
Alex Cabagnot
SMB’s Alex Cabagnot applying pressure against Chan in the closing minutes of the final period.

BLACKWATER has never enjoyed a start as hot as it is having in the PBA Governors’ Cup since the Ever Bilena franchise joined the league five years ago.

On a roll with four straight wins, the Elite take on NLEX today, looking to sustain their hot streak never seen in them since 2014.

The Elite meet the Road Warriors in the 4:30 p.m. opening tussle of an interesting double-header that will also see Magnolia and Rain or Shine collide in the 7 p.m. main offering at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

There is no secret to the Elite’s amazing run in the season-ending conference, except the remarkable improvements among their starters, including JP Erram, Mike DiGregorio, Paul Zamar, John Nard Pinto  and Mac Belo, among others.

Erram, who had a stint with the national team that played in the recent FIBA 2019 World Cup qualifiers, is showing some maturity every game and  DiGregorio, Zamar, Pinto and Belo have been giving out steady contributions.

The Elite, too, have a reinforcement in Henry Walker who could deliver when needed most, something he had shown in the string of four wins the team scored at the expense of traditional powerhouse Talk ‘N Text, San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Globalport.

Favorite whipping boys in their early stint in the league, the Elite  have developed a habit of winning, something that Ramos wants his charges to sustain.

“Sana masanay nang masanay manalo,” said Ramos, who took over the reins of the Elite from Leo Isaac last April.

While the Elite have put themselves on the right path towards playoff stage, still Ramos would not want to sound too optimistic, knowing full well battles in the PBA have always been tight.

When asked if Blackwater is for real after that 4-0 start capped by an upset win over Barangay Ginebra, Ramos  said: “Nasa puso ko, yes. Sa puso ng mga players, I think yes.”

Ramos was quick to issue caution on the situation they are in.

“But four wins pa lang ’yan. We have to play seven more games, kailangan lang namin one game at a time,” stressed Ramos.

The Elite will gun for their fifth straight win against the Road Warriors in what could be another acid test for them.