NorthPort was out to avenge a humiliating setback, and it showed as the Batang Pier defeated hapless Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 115-79, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday.
Robert Bolick scored 20 points and dished out 11 assists as NorthPort bounced back from a 63-85 loss to Meralco on opening day Friday, making up for missed time due to a partial ACL tear that held him out of last year’s Philippine Cup playoffs.
Even Sydney Onwubere, Paolo Taha, and Jamie Malonzo made an impact, making up for the absences of Greg Slaughter, who sat out for the second consecutive game, and Sean Anthony, who was suffering from a sore left ankle.
“Sabi nga ni coach Pido, hindi namin kaya kung offense-to-offense lang. So last couple of practices namin focus namin depensa lang talaga. Yung offense nga namin hindi na namin na-trabaho. Talagang defense focus namin. Nagkita naman ngayon,” said Bolick
“Masyadong disappointment yung first game namin. Lowest scoring and at the same time (shooting) percentage yata. Ginawa na lang namin, we fixed one thing, defense. Actually, nagkaroon kami ng bull session. Nag-usap kami, sa depensa. Nag-concentrate kami talaga on defense. If we make stops then we can get our offense flowing,” said Jarencio.
The Batang Pier’s two ends did meet, culminating in the highest win margin in franchise history, with rookie Troy Rike, the No. 11 overall pick in last March’s draft, capping his own 20-point performance with four straight triples that propelled his team to a 99-65 advantage.
Five players scored in double figures, and the Batang Pier cruised to victory by shooting 50% from the field, including a scorching 44 percent from beyond the arc.
Phoenix’s setback was its second in as many games, and it was even worse than their 70-83 loss to Magnolia last Saturday. Vic Manuel led the team with 26 points, but Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, and Justin Chua all had underwhelming games.
Wright scored 15 points but only hit four of his 15 field goals, while Perkins and Chua combined for only 14 points on 5-of-23 shooting.
Phoenix made just 31 of its 97 shots overall, including 20 of its first 20 attempts from beyond the arc.
Following Saturday’s loss against Magnolia, Phoenix Super LPG falls to 0-2 in the league.
NorthPort 115 – Bolick 20, Rike 20, Ferrer 20, Malonzo 15, Onwubere 15, Taha 12, Elorde 6, Faundo 4, Balanza 3, Subido 0, Doliguez 0, Lanete 0, Grey 0.
Phoenix 79 – Manuel 26, Wright 15, Perkins 12, Jazul 8, Garcia 6, Melecio 4, Pascual 2, Demusis 2, Chua 2, Rios 2, Faundo 0, Muyang 0, Calisaan 0, Napoles 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 50-31, 79-51, 115-79.