NORTHPORT sustained its last-ditch bid for a quarterfinal spot on Wednesday night by defeating Alaska, 94-84, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier averted a fourth-quarter collapse to win for the second straight game after a six-game losing streak that nearly knocked them out of the playoff picture.
Instead, NorthPort, now at 4-6 (win-loss), can clinch a place in the Final Eight with a win over Ginebra next Wednesday.
On the other hand, Alaska ended the eliminations at ninth place with a 4-7 card, their playoff hopes no longer in their hands.
Sean Anthony finished with a double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds while Stanley Pringle added 21 points for the Batang Pier, who are assured of at least a playoff for the eighth and final spot in the quarterfinals.
NorthPort's win also knocked Columbian and Meralco out of the quarterfinal race.
The Batang Pier were up, 71-57, when the Aces scored 17 straight points to cut the deficit to three points, bringing back memories of past NorthPort collapses.
This time, however, the Batang Pier responded with a 19-4 blast led by Anthony and Pringle to put the game away.
“Talagang ‘yung mga players, they want this win. Para sa kanila, they want to make a name for themselves na do-or-die game, tapos nananalo,” said Jarencio.
Carl Bryan Cruz had 23 points for the Aces, whose playoff fate will not depend on the result of next Wednesday’s match between Magnolia and NLEX.
NorthPort 94 – Anthony 24, Pringle 21, Tautuaa 14, Grey 13, Taha 6, Flores 6, Bolick 3, Guinto 3, Elorde 2, Sollano 2, Lanete 0.
Alaska 84 – Cruz 23, Thoss 14, Enciso 11, Banchero 8, Pascual 8, Ayaay 6, Casio 5, Baclao 3, Teng 2, Galliguez 2, Racal 2, Exciminiano 0.
Quarters: 16-19; 40-37; 71-60; 94-84.