Ortiz keys Bossing’s 19-point smothering of FiberXers

Blackwater import Chris Ortiz.–PBA IMAGES

Blackwater coach Jeffrey Cariaso could not be happier with the way import Chris Ortiz played as both had winning debuts on Wednesday.

And after Ortiz’s all-around effort in claiming a 103-84 rout of Converge at Philsports Arena in Pasig City to begin their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign, Cariaso hopes that the member of Puerto Rico’s Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup squad can provide more.

“I’ve never had an import as versatile as he is,” Cariaso said after Ortiz produced 21 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in the unexpected blowout.

“He can score from any place on the floor, but the way he stretches out gives us a variety of things we can do. So we’re happy with his first game,” added the PBA great who won his first game in charge of the Bossing.

Ortiz not only provided some baskets, including a pair of dunks that enabled Blackwater to pull away in the second quarter after squandering an early lead, he was also key on the defensive end. And that is something Cariaso wants for the franchise to succeed in changing its doormat image.

But it will also be important for the Bossing to have their locals provide support role, as shown against the FiberXers.

Player of the Game Rey Suerte, Troy Rosario, Jvee Casio, Mike Ayonayon and Tyrus Hill had their contributions in the 19-point win, their highest since blasting Terrafirma by 37 in last season’s Philippine Cup.

“Part of the role of some of the guys is to level up,” said Cariaso. “If we’re gonna have a chance this conference, they have to level up, and I think they know that.”

That challenge will be the same when Blackwater goes for a rare 2-0 start on Saturday against Meralco, which was playing Rain or Shine at presstime.

It was Blackwater’s first win after dropping nine in a row to end the season-ending 2023 Governors’ Cup, prompting a change in direction on the sidelines.

Converge led in the first quarter and for a brief part in the second, but it went downhill from there as it lost for the first time to Blackwater in its young PBA existence.

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Tom Vodanovich led Converge with 20 points.

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