NorthPort coach Bonnie Tan is looking at their gallant stand versus Meralco as something to build on moving forward into the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Batang Pier bowed down, 107-102, on Thursday night, but not before making life difficult for the Bolts. NorthPort even snatched the lead in the closing minutes after being down by as much as 12 during the third canto.
“At least, one step forward,” he said moments after the match at the Philsports Arena. “Hopefully, ma-sustain namin – ‘yung one step forward, maging two steps forward kami. Sa tingin namin, mananalo na kami next game – hopefully.”
Still without star Robert Bolick due to hamstring issues and ongoing contract talks, NorthPort offered a much better showing this time around than their conference opener versus Converge, where they got blown out by 30.
With Roi Sumang and Marcus Weathers leading the charge, the Batang Pier launched a 13-2 run to take a 97-96 lead with 2:51 left to play.
But sustaining that lead was the issue. Bong Quinto gave Meralco the lead back, and Chris Newsome went on to deal the heavy blows to close it out.
With the defeat, NorthPort failed to go back-to-back against the MVP team. It could be recalled that the Batang Pier beat the Bolts in the Commissioners’ Cup, 101-95, with Bolick submitting a career-high 44 markers.
“Kinapos,” lamented Tan. “We had some open shots na hindi lang ma-finish ng mga players natin. But the effort was there.”
It’s now back to the drawing board for NorthPort, and the interim mentor now has his focus on polishing some things as they gun for win no. 1.
“One-point loss, 30 points na talo, talo pa rin,” said Tan. “Medyo mas better lang ‘yung execution namin ngayon. Na-improve namin.
“Again, next game, if we sustain, tas ma-improve lang namin ‘yung lapses namin lalo na sa box out, I think we can pull through in the next game. Sana.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.