The NorthPort Batang Pier hardly felt the absence of star player Stanley Pringle by relying on their height and heft advantage to build a big lead then survived the Magnolia Hotshots rally to prevail, 102-99, yesterday June 12 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Barroca and Paul Lee each drilled a three-pointer to cut the NorthPort lead to just five points, 96-91, but Sean Anthony countered with a jumper during NorthPort’s next play to hike the lead back to seven points, 98-91, with just 1:05 to go in the game.
Ian Sanggalang then scored from underneath followed by two free throws by Justin Melton which cut the NorthPort lead to just three points, 98-95, with still 35 seconds left to play.
Sean Anthony then converted four free throws against field goals by Marc Barroca and James Farr to preserve the 102-99 victory.
Anthony finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and five steals to win Player of the Game honors.
With the win the Batang Pier (5 wins, 1 loss) climbed into a tie at the top of the standings of the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup with the Blackwater Elite (5-1). The other teams include the TNT KaTropa (4-1), the Alaska Aces (4-2), the Meralco Bolts (3-3), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (2-2) and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (2-2),
Bringing up the rear are the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters (1-3), the Columbian Dyip (1-3), the Hotshots (0-2), the San Miguel Beermen (0-2) and the NLEX Road Warriors (0-5).
TNT and Ginebra are playing as we went to press.
Jonathan Grey and Moala Tautuaa each drilled a three-pointer to fuel a 9-2 NorthPort run which turned a 39-41 deficit into a five-point, 48-43, advantage at halftime.
The Batang Pier continued the assault in the third to hike their advantage to as much as 14 points before settling for an eight-point, 70-62, lead after three quarters.
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