THE team that plays together, stays together.
NorthPort has embraced that mantra to revive its playoff hopes in the PBA Philippine Cup.
No one among the Batang Pier has shown resiliency than star player Stanley Pringle, who once again led the way for the team in its 94-84 win over Alaska on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pringle fired 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting as NorthPort survived a second straight do-or-die encounter and stayed in the running for a place in the quarterfinals.
He averaged 22.5 points in the team’s twin victories that improved its overall record to 4-6 for a tie with NLEX at seventh place.
“We stayed together, got closer together,” said Pringle, recalling how NorthPort lost six games in a row and found itself on the verge of elimination when suddenly it turned its fortunes around.
“As a team, we pick each other up.”
For a moment, the Batang Pier got a big scare after Alaska went on a 17-0 run bridging the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to overhaul a 57-71 deficit and take a three-point lead early in the final period.
But Pringle took matter into his own hands and sparked a 12-2 run to enable NorthPort to regain the lead at 83-76.
In all, Pringle scored 12 points in the fourth period alone.
“We played with an urgency towards the end of the fourth quarter when we lost that big lead,” said Pringle.
The Batang Pier still have one game left in Barangay Ginebra shortly after the All-Star break. NorthPort needs to win that one to lock up a Final 8 spot.
Pringle assured the Batang Pier are not slowing down.
“We get back on practice on Friday and watch films,” he said, adding the frontcourt duo of Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar will be a tough match-up for NorthPort.
“As a team, we need to rebound. It’s going to be tough,” Pringle said.