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PBA: All-Filipino Northport stuns June Mar-less San Miguel for 5th win


Venky Jois’ absence hardly became an issue as NorthPort handily beat an injury-riddled San Miguel, 115-101, to post its third consecutive win in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Friday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The odds seemed stacked against the Batang Pier with their import out due to a hamstring injury, but the locals gamely stepped up on the way to matching the club’s best winning streak since the previous edition of the same conference.

“Happy with my local players, especially ‘yung mga rookies natin. They stayed consistent sa last three games namin. We shot well. We’re just lucky na kulang-kulang din ‘yung kalaban and medyo off sila,” said head coach Bonnie Tan.

Main man Arvin Tolentino led the way with a game-high 28 points and five rebounds off the bench. He helped the young guns in putting together their strong third-quarter finish towards a 92-77 lead, setting up the romp.

The lead would go as high as 26 points, 113-87, following Cade Flores’ lay-up off a Tolentino assist with under three minutes left in the game.

Joshua Munzon produced 16 points. Flores continued his solid play with 15 points while JM Calma and rookie guard Brent Paraiso supplied 11 points apiece, with the sophomore bruiser adding eight rebounds.

NorthPort took down a Beermen side that’s missing the services of main man June Mar Fajardo, who’s out for 4-6 weeks due to a fractured left hand — indeed a name they wouldn’t want to see in what has been a long injury list for them.

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Aside from the reigning seven-time MVP, the team is already without Terrence Romeo, Vic Manuel, Jeron Teng, Simon Enciso, and Kyt Jimenez.

Still, San Miguel deployed a balanced attack, with Ivan Aska leading the unit with 26 points and eight rebounds. Mo Tautuaa had 18 points while Marcio Lassiter made 16 points, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.

CJ Perez tallied an 11-7-4 stat line while Jericho Cruz and Chris Ross added 10 apiece but their efforts, unfortunately, weren’t enough for SMB to stretch its winning streak to four. It fell to 3-2 in the standings instead.

It’s intriguing to see how this depleted team would perform this Sunday against Magnolia, who’s looking to go 7-0 in the 6:15 game at Philsports.

Serving as the opening salvo of the December 10 double-header, meanwhile, is the clash between NorthPort and Meralco at 3 p.m., with the Batang Pier expected to have Jois back versus a team parading Zach Lofton.

The Scores:

NorthPort 115 – Tolentino 28, Munzon 16, Flores 15, Calma 11, Paraiso 11, Chan 10, Caperal 8, Yu 8, Amores 6, Taha 2, Ayaay 0, Balagasay 0, Salado 0.

San Miguel 101 – Aska 26, Tautuaa 18, Lassiter 16, Perez 11, Ross 10, Cruz 10, Brondial 8, Mallilin 2, Bulanadi 0.

Quarterscores: 29-22, 55-48, 92-77, 115-101.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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