ROBERT Bolick delivered the winning basket as NorthPort edged Meralco, 93-92, to enhance its shot at the No. 1 seed in the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs.
Bolick scored on an audacious layup with 4.3 seconds to play giving the Batang Pier the lead for good in a tighly fought game at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Bolts had one final attempt at reversing the outcome but Chris Newsome missed a undergoal stab in tight traffic at the buzzer.
The Batang Pier finished the elimination round with a 9-2 record and can claim the top seed should idle TnT Katropa (9-1) lose to Magnolia on Wednesday.
NorthPort and TnT ending up tied at 9-2 would have the Batang Pier earning the No. 1 slot by virtue of their 110-86 win over the Katropa.
"Gusto ng mga players going to the playoffs, we're coming off a win, and at the same time, a strong finish for us," said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio.
It was a tough loss for Meralco, which fell to a 3-7 record and now needs to win over San Miguel Beer in its final elimination-round assignment to stay alive.
The rookie Bolick torched the Bolts for 18 points including eight in the final quarter.
With the Batang Pier trailing 91-92, the team went to Bolick who drove hard to his right and eluded the double team of Cliff Hodge and Ranidel de Ocampo to score the marginal basket.
Young import Prince Ibeh finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, but went 9-of-16 from the foul line. He missed four straight missed free throws inside the final minute.
Newsome had 21 points and six rebounds in a losing cause for the Bolts, who also got a triple double from import Delroy James with his 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
James' drive off Ibeh gave Meralco its last taste of the lead, 92-90.
NorthPort (93) - Bolick 18, Ibeh 15, Mercado 12, Elorde 10, Ferrer 9, Lanete 9, Tautuaa 6, Cruz 5, Flores 5, Taha 4, Arana 0, Gabayni 0.
Meralco (92) - Newsome 21, James 17, Amer 16, Hodge 13, De Ocampo 10, Faundo 4, Almazan 4, Quinto 4, Tolomia 2, Hugnatan 1, Salva 0, Pinto 0, Canaleta 0, Jackson 0.
Quarterscores: 22-28; 45-43; 62-67; 93-92.