by Jonas Terrado
Games Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Columbian
6:45 p.m. – Ginebra vs Meralco
NorthPort survived the determined effort of import-less NLEX, 83-79, to claim its second win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sean Anthony’s putback with 15.8 seconds left broke a 79-all tie before the Batang Pier forced Marion Magat to miss a three-point attempt in the dying seconds to avoid defeat.
Anthony finished with 17 points and six rebounds, rookie Robert Bolick fired 18 points and import Prince Ibeh added 15 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks for NorthPort.
Coach Pido Jarencio wasn’t pleased with the way his team performed in the Petron Saturday Special affair, especially with NLEX import Tony Mitchell failing to secure a clearance in time for the match.
Mitchell came in as a replacement for Curtis Washington, who was let go after a disappointing midweek loss to TNT KaTropa in Antipolo City.
“We weren’t able to execute our plays properly and they thought that it would be an easy game because the other team played without an import,” Jarencio lamented.
The Batang Pier in fact trailed 53-42 in the second quarter before slowly climbing back in the second half to take the lead.
NLEX eventually tied the score at 79-all on Kenneth Ighalo’s two charities with 31.6 seconds left.
Bolick missed a go-ahead jumper but Anthony capitalized on NLEX big man Papot Paredes’ failure to box out and score a putback to give NorthPort the lead.
Ighalo finished with 18 points and Poy Erram added 12 points and nine boards but the Road Warriors dropped to 0-2.
TNT KaTropa was playing Alaska at presstime with import Terrence Jones hoping to build on his 41-point debut against NLEX.
NorthPort 83 – Bolick 18, Anthony 17, Ibeh 15, Tautuaa 14, Taha 10, Elorde 6, Grey 3, Lanete 0, Gabayni 0.
NLEX 79 – Ighalo 18, Soyud 12, Galanza 11, Erram 10, Fonacier 7, Tiongson 6, Paniamogan 5, Magat 4, Paredes 2, Baguio 2, Lao 2, Taulava 0, Rios 0, Tallo 0.
Quarters: 18-25, 35-43, 59-57, 83-79.