NorthPort Batang Pier kept their quarterfinals bid alive by eliminating Rain or Shine Elasto Painters with a 113-97 victory in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Saturday, March 4. The Batang Pier relied on their imports and the excellent performance of Paul Zamar to secure the win.
Import Kevin Murphy led NorthPort with 39 points, including a franchise-record 10 three-pointers, while Paul Zamar had a career-high 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists. They had a 24-10 run in the fourth quarter that extended their shaky three-point lead to a comfortable 104-87 with five minutes left to play. Zamar’s 10-2 run with Murphy to open the payoff period helped to rebuild a 90-79 lead.
Coach Bonnie Tan admitted that it was more challenging to play against a team without an import, and he was happy that his team pulled through. “We’re still alive, and we still have a chance. We need to win our remaining game against TNT and hope that Phoenix loses to Meralco to force a playoff for the final quarterfinals berth.”
NorthPort also got solid contributions from four other players in double figures, including rookie JM Calma, Robert Bolick, Jeff Chan, and former MVP Arwind Santos. Meanwhile, Rain or Shine had a team-high 17 points from Leonard Santillan, Anton Asistio, and Nick Demusis, who each added 14 points.
With the win, NorthPort improved its record to 3-7, while Rain or Shine fell to 2-8 and was officially ousted in the playoffs race. Coach Yeng Guiao’s team had their first playoff elimination since he took over midseason.
Zamar was thrilled with his best game at NorthPort, and he hopes to continue to contribute to their upcoming games. “It’s nice to have a game like this, and it’s great to help the team win. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’ll keep fighting.”
NorthPort will face the league leader TNT in their final game, while Rain or Shine’s season is over.