NORTHPORT sustained a revival that it hopes is not too late, beating fellow struggler Meralco, 99-94, on Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Sean Anthony and Stanley Pringle led an attack that enabled the Batang Pier to weather a slow slart and win their second straight game after a 0-6 start.
The undermanned Bolts, runners-up for two straight seasons in this same conference, lost their sixth straight game. They are now at 1-6 (win-loss).
“The players really worked hard for this win. Offensively, defensively, wala ka nang masabi sa kanila,” said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio. “At least, back-to-back wins. Baka makahabol pa tayo sa last three games.”
Anthony had 26 points while Pringle had 24 points built around six three-pointers and had eight rebounds. The two also hit the shots that stopped Meralco’s late run.
NorthPort import Rashad Woods atoned for his scoreless first half to finish with 20 points for the Batang Pier.
The loss put to naught a solid effort by Meralco import Allen Durham, who had 37 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists for a side that continues to struggle without injured players Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo.
Meralco's 1-6 (win-loss) record represents the worst start in the eight-year history of the franchise, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.
The Bolts started with a 10-0 lead, but soon faded as the Batang Pier finished the first half with a 46-41 lead. Pringle's three-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave NorthPort an 82-69 lead, the biggest by either side in the game.
Meralco was able to cut the deficit to two points on a lay-up by Mike Tolomia, 86-84, but Mo Tautuaa and Woods hit back-to-back baskets while Pringle and Anthony hit threes to bring the lead back to 98-91.
NorthPort 99 – Anthony 26, Pringle 24, Woods 20, Tautuaa 14, Elorde 4, Arana 4, Javelona 2, Espinas 2, Gabayni 2, Taha 1, Fortuna 0, Grey 0, Guinto 0.
Meralco 94 – Durham 37, Tolomia 18, Newsome 13, Hodge 12, Hugnatan 5, Salva 4, Canaleta 3, Caram 2, Atkins 0, Amer 0, Lanete 0, Ballesteros 0, Jamito 0.
Quarters: 22-21; 46-41; 74-69; 99-94.