MACAU -- Blackwater got off to a slow start against the Seoul SK Knights and paid dearly for it, absorbing a 93-77 loss in their first game of the East Asia League Terrific 12 tournament on Tuesday at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion.
Former NBA player Jameel Warney had a near triple-double of 26 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists for the Korean Basketball League (KBL) powerhouse, which controlled the match from start to finish.
The Elite were without injured starts Ray Parks and Mike DiGregorio, and struggled coming out of the gates. They trailed by as much as 19 points late in the game.
Kim Min Soo added 18 points and six rebounds, while the Knights' other import Aaron Haynes finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Import Alex Stepheson finished with big numbers of 22 points and 22 rebounds in a losing cause for Blackwater, which had two key players in Marqus Blakely and Allein Maliksi also in foul trouble for most of the match.
"We started the game really, really flat today," said Blackwater coach Aris Dimaunahan. "We can't let that happen as we play again tomorrow."
The Elite only have 24 hours to recover, as they face the Chiba Jets in their final game in Group A.
Parks (Achilles injury) and Digregorio (flu) are both game time decisions again, according to Dimaunahan, along with big man Rabeh Al Hussaini and veteran playmaker Mike Cortez.
"It really hurt us big time, because I think we lost probably almost 38 points," said Dimaunahan of the absence of his four key players.
Despite a depleted roster, the Elite made a fight out of it and outscored the Knights, 10-2, to start the third quarter that tied the game at 46.
However, the Korean side answered back with seven unanswered points for a 53-46 lead, and they never looked back.
Blakely collected 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists in his debut for the Elite as a late replacement for the injured Aaron Fuller.
Seoul SK Knights (93) – Warney 26, Kim M.S 18, Haynes 16, Jun An 12, Choi 7, Kim S.H . 7, Chon 3, Byun 3, Kim G. W. 1, Song 0, Choi B.K. 0, Choi S.W. 0.
Blackwater (77) – Stepheson 22, Blakely 14, Desiderio 12, Dario 9, Belo 5, Alolino 4, Sumang 4, Banal 3, Cruz 2, Maliksi 2, Salem 0.
Quarterscores: 24-19; 44-36; 73-61; 93-77.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.