Mar 05, 2024

Blackwater not taking Converge lightly

A RARE 2-0 start does not change anything in Blackwater's approach and mindset in the PBA Philippine Cup.

"Nothing has changed," said Bossing coach Jeff Cariaso Tuesday.

"Right now, we are just starting, so too early to tell. We are still in the process of learning about each other, 'yung chemistry namin p'wede pang mag-improve," added Cariaso.

"Pero we all understand completely that we have to do and give our best each and every game."

More so now that Blackwater would be ranged against a Converge squad willing to do anything to get that breakthrough win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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The match is set at 4:30 p.m.

Unlike the Bossing, the FiberXers have lost their first two games with the last as bitter as the first one. After starting out flat against Terrafirma, Converge raced to as much as an 18-point lead against NorthPort before unraveling in the fourth quarter and overtime to drop a 104-112 decision.

"Honestly, nalamangan lang sila ng malaki agad nu'ng first game nila pero humabol sila so may tsansa na manalo. Last game, dapat panalo sila. They could easily have been 2-0," was how Cariaso aired his notes which he shared with his team.

"Kami we are not taking them lightly. We can't afford to do that. So feeling ko it's going to be a good game," said Cariaso. "They will be hungry to win so kailangan maging ready kami. Hindi kami p'wedeng maging complacent."

Of primary concern for Cariaso is how to stymie Alec Stockton and Justin Arana, who have been leading Converge's drive thus far. Thanks to a career-high 27-point effort against NorthPort, Stockton is now toting averages of 22.5 points while Arana has been equally solid with 21.5 along with 9.5 rebounds.

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"'Yung big guns nila ngayon, si Arana at Stockton, 'yun 'yung magiging focal point namin, how to defend them," said Cariaso. "I think marami silang other players who are capable of giving good numbers. Some are young, but good players.

"So ang message ko sa team was to make sure we come into the game respecting everyone. Lahat sila are good players and we expect na magiging maganda laro."

Another concern for Cariaso is the status of Rey Nambatac, who suffered a grade one right ankle sprain early in the course of an 87-76 upset win over TNT last Saturday and is now day-to-day.

"So tingnan natin kung makakalaro siya, pero we're hoping. ," said Cariaso. "Medyo bad timing, pero to have him for even a few minutes, I think, malaking bagay sa amin." (NC)