Blackwater 118 – GlobalPort 107
Allein Maliksi wasted no time making an impact for his new team. He scored 22 points in his first game with the Blackwater Elite to lead them to the quarterfinals with a win over the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
The Batang Pier were playing with nothing to lose as they were eliminated in their previous game. This didn’t show early in the game as they built an early lead and were looking to play spoiler to the Elite. They held a four-point lead late in the first period when John Pinto sparked an 18-5 run, bridging the first two quarters. Pinto scored eight straight points during that stretch as Blackwater built a nine-point lead. It was at that point where Maliksi stepped up.
He scored five straight points near the end of the first half to give the Elite a double-digit lead heading into the break. Maliksi hit a three-pointer and then drove to the lane to get his points. He then went on another five point spurt off a nice spinning lay-up and an and-one power move on the fast break. That gave Blackwater an 18-point lead early in the third quarter. The Elite would pull away for the win from that point on.
Malikse led the Elite in scoring but he had plenty of help. Five other Blackwater players scored in double figures, with Roi Sumang scoring 21 and Henry Walker adding 19 points.
TNT 104 – Star 99
Both the TNT KaTropa and Star Hotshots were gunning for the win. The KaTropa were looking to stay in the race for the top four slot while the Hotshots needed the win to keep their bid for a Top four slot alive. The Hotshots were parading a new import in Kristofer Acox who replaced Malcolm Hill. Acox played well enough but it was Glen Rice Jr. that shined brighter. The TNT import registered a monster stat line of 43 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists to carry the KaTropa to their 17th win.
Behind hot outside shooting from Rice, Jr., RR Pogoy and Jayson Castro, TNT outscored the Hotshots 29-14 in the final eight minutes of the third quarter to build a lead as high as 17 points in the third quarter. But the Hotshots would not back down. They slowly chipped away at the lead in the final quarter. Paul Lee teamed up with Jio Jalalon as the two scored big baskets to bring Star to within two points, 96-98 in the final minute of the game.
Rice Jr. who was held scoreless for most of the final period scored the last six points of the game to give TNT enough cushion for the win. He drove to the hoop for a side-stepping layup to increase the TNT lead to four points. He followed that up with a hook shot close to the hoop to extend the lead further. Lee would hit a trey but Rice finished off the game with two free throws to deliver the win.