In comparison to last conference, this Philippine Cup is a nightmare.
Based on his observation, coach Bong Ramos pointed to lack of winning attitude and the absence of a take charge guy as major factor for Blackwater's poor showing in the eliminations of the PBA Philippine Cup.
In 10 elimination games, the Elite have only two Ws to show and were practically eliminated from the playoff race with one game remaining.
Obviously, Ramos is frustrated.
And why not? Blackwater made a lot of noise last conference, finishing fifth place in the eliminations of the Governors' Cup before getting eliminated by eventual champion Magnolia Pambansang Manok in the quarterfinals.
Ramos acknowledge that decision of the management to trade big man Poy Erram and Paul Zamar and allowing guard Nards Pinto to take his game elsewhere took its toll on the Elite this conference.
"Siyempre galing kami sa No. 5 sa last conference. Then suddenly, nagkaroon kami ng parang rebuilding," explained Ramos after Blackwater suffered another heavy beating Sunday against NLEX, 122-101, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Still, Ramos, who takes the blame for Blackwater's early exit, said that should not be an excuse.
"Katulad niyang game (against NLEX) may mga player ako na umaayaw. Kung tune-up pa lang at nakakatikim ka na ng talo, dun mo makikita kung winner yung player mo o hindi. Yun ang nakikita ko, personally.
"But I don't blame them, lahat ng talo namin kasalanan ko yan. Di kami pumasok ngayon (sa quarterfinals), kasalanan ko yan. Wala akong ituturong player na kasalanan nila, basta ang sa akin basta masunod gusto ko ... magfollow sila," the coach added.
Ramos is not losing hope though.
Rookies Diego Dario, Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter showed promise against the Road Warriors, working together as the Elite charged back from a 29-point deficit and trimmed the gap to nine.
Diego finished with nine assists, Desiderio had 12 points and Tratter posted 16 points and 12 rebounds.
While Blackwater came up short, the trio have certainly caught the attention of Ramos and provide him with some ray of hope.
The Elite conclude their campaign against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. (JT)