NORTHPORT came roaring back from eight points down with a late binge to beat Blackwater, 87-83, on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier drew big games from import Prince Ibeh, Arvin Tolentino, and Arwind Santos to overcome a 74-66 fourth-quarter deficit.
NorthPort improved to 3-2 as it bounced back from its loss to TNT last Saturday, while sending Blackwater to a 2-3 mark.
Ibeh, Tolentino, and Santos combined for 19 of NorthPort’s 23 fourth-quarter points. Tolentino accounted for 10 of these, including a three that closed the gap to 79-78.
Santos and Tolentino scored back-to-back hits and Santos nailed the jumper at the 1:01 mark for an 84-81 lead which the Batang Pier protected.
In all, the Batang Pier finished the game on a 21-9 blast after trailing by eight in the fourth quarter.
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio was actually unsatisfied with their play, saying they were lackadaisical on defense in the first half.
“I’m not into scoring sa mga players. Ang nangyari nung first half, ang tamlay namin defensively. Ganun din sa offense, one pass, one shot. Kinausap ko nga sila, hindi puwedeng manalo ng ganun,” said Jarencio.
“Although nanalo kami today, hindi pa rin ‘yun ang ineexpect kong laro. Hindi kami consistent eh,” said Jarencio.
Ibeh finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, while Tolentino added 15 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. Santos had 14 points and 10 rebounds for NorthPort.
Cameron Krutwig had 28 points and 17 rebounds for Blackwater.
NorthPort 87 – Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Santos 14, Balanza 13, Bolick 12, Ferrer 7, Taha 3, Caperal 2, Sumang 0, Salado 0.
Blackwater 83 – Krutwig 28, Rosario 17, Amer 16, Ular 8, Ayonayon 7, Suerte 4, Taha 2, Banal 1, Jackson 0, Ebona 0.
Quarters: 16-22; 37-42; 64-68; 87-83.