NorthPort pulled the rug underneath Blackwater, 87-83, to rebound in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Arvin Tolentino, Arwind Santos, and Prince Ibeh joined forces for the 16-5 rally that turned an eight-point deficit to an 82-79 Batang Pier lead with four minutes left, eventually redeeming themselves from last week’s blowout loss to TNT.
The crew earned its third victory in five outings but it left a lot to be desired for head coach Pido Jarencio as he lamented his side’s inconsistency.
“Although nanalo kami, hindi pa rin ‘yun ;yung ine-expect kong laro. Hindi kami consistent, eh ‘yung consistency importante,” said the veteran mentor. “But a win is a win. I’ll take this win kahit na ganun. Marami pang dapat i-improve.”
Ibeh led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds in yet another solid proof of his growth on offense, while Tolentino tallied 15 points and six rebounds. Santos supplied 14 markers and 10 rebounds in his best game of the conference yet.
It was Santos and Ibeh who kept Blackwater at bay in the final moments. The former nailed a jumper off the break to respond to Troy Rosario’s bucket, then the latter made it an 85-81 gap through a split with 17 seconds left.
Jerrick Balanza had 13 points, while Robert Bolick made 12 markers, 10 assists, and seven rebounds as five players scored in double figures in the win.
NorthPort (3-2) will have itself a tough test ahead as it faces Magnolia — who’s 3-0 as of this posting — next on Sunday, 6:45 p.m., still at the Big Dome.
Blackwater’s loss, meanwhile, wasted the career-high outing of Cameron Krutwig, who finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
Also going down the drain were the efforts of Troy Rosario and Baser Amer, who had 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the meltdown as the Bossing failed to sustain their winning ways after beating San Miguel last week.
Now at 2-3 in the standings, Blackwater will try to get back on track against the still-winless Terrafirma (0-4) this Friday, 3:00 p.m. at the same venue.
NorthPort 87 – Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Santos 14, Balanza 13, Bolick 12, Ferrer 7, Taha 3, Caperal 2, Chan 2, Salado 0, Sumang 0.
Blackwater 83 – Krutwig 28, Rosario 17, Amer 16, Ular 8, Ayonayon 7, Suerte 4, Taha 2, Banal 1, Ebona 0, McCarthy 0, Jackson 0.
Quarterscores: 16-22, 37-42, 64-68, 87-83.