NorthPort handed Ginebra a harsh 34-point beatdown, 124-90, drawing first blood in their 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinal series, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Import Michael Qualls spearheaded the Batang Pier’s attack with 38 points, including 27 in the first half alone. He also collected 15 rebounds, four steals, and three assists.
Sharp-shooting forward Garvo Lanete only played in the second half but finished with 24 points on six three-pointers, playing a pivotal role in breaking the game wide open.
Christian Standhardinger produced 16 points and 15 rebounds despite being under the weather. Meanwhile, ex-Gin King Sol Mercado and Sean Anthony chimed in 14 and 11 markers, respectively.
“It’s a total team effort. Lahat nag-contribute, lahat doing their share,” said coach Pido Jarencio. “Lahat tumulong.”
The Batang Pier were already in the lead by 16 points, 57-41, early in the third canto. The Gin Kings fought back, however, getting within just one, 62-63, behind Justin Brownlee with 4:40 left in the period.
But the trio of Lanete, Standhardinger, and guard Nico Elorde came through to restore order. NorthPort then held a 78-68 advantage heading into the final chapter.
The match was never in doubt after that. The Batang Pier led by as many as 37, 122-85, after a Lanete trey with 1:17 left.
“Maybe we just caught Ginebra on their off-night. Siguro haba rin kasi ng break. Then kami naman, medyo mas gutom. Tonight, it’s a well-executed game plan, especially defensively,” Jarencio said.
Brownlee had 24 points, 19 rebounds and six assists to lead Ginebra, which shot just 36-percent from the field.
“It was a very ugly performance. It was embarrassing,” lamented coach Tim Cone. “They wanted it more than we did, and [this was] one of the worst first games I’ve ever been involved with on this side.”
The Batang Pier will look to go up 2-0 in Game Two on Monday, December 16, at 7 p.m. still at the Big Dome.
NorthPort 124 – Qualls 38, Lanete 24, Standhardinger 16, Mercado 14, Anthony 11, Escoto 7, Taha 5, Elorde 5, Cruz 2, King 2.
Ginebra 90 – Brownlee 24, Pringle 21, Aguilar 8, Chan 8, Thompson 7, Dillinger 5, Dela Cruz 4, Slaughter 4, Mariano 4, Tenorio 3, Caperal 2, Devance 0, Caguioa 0, Sargent 0.
Quarterscores: 22-20, 51-39, 78-68, 124-90.