Arwind Santos was stellar once again as NorthPort rallied to add to Terrafirma’s woes, 124-117, to register its fifth consecutive victory in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The 40-year-old tallied 28 points, including the pull-up jumper with 3:13 left that broke the 112-all tie and sparked the Batang Pier’s 12-3 finishing kick on the way to completing the comeback after being down 19 in the second.
Santos shot 64-percent from the field and also collected nine rebounds and three assists, as the club improved to 5-5 to boost its quarterfinal hopes.
“Our players don’t want to quit,” said coach Pido Jarencio. “Everybody’s helping, everybody’s communicating, and then players are stepping up.”
NorthPort has now forged a three-way tie at seventh with reigning champs Ginebra and Phoenix, and is presently the hottest team in the league with that long streak. But Jarencio isn’t satisfied whatsoever.
“That five wins is nothing kung hindi namin namin mapanalo pa ‘yung last game,” he said as they will battle TNT on March 11 at 6 p.m.
Jamel Artis top-scored for the Batang Pier with 31 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the 45 minutes and 19 seconds he logged.
The American cager scored 12 of his points in the third quarter, where they exploded for 39 big points to redeem themselves from a lackadaisical second period that saw them trail big, 48-67, with 1:11 left.
Robert Bolick finished with an impressive double-double of 21 points and 17 assists, together with seven rebounds and three steals. Rookie Jamie Malonzo supplied 21 markers as well, on top of 12 boards and four steals.
Those three were also the ones who continued what the 2013 MVP kick-started to finish the game, with the uber-athletic Malonzo applying the exclamation point to the triumph with a two-handed slam with 11.4 seconds left.
“Everything is falling into place. Wala kaming mga players at the time, ngayon naman, nabubuo na. Which is maganda kasi may mga tumutulong na lalo which is important to us,” said Jarencio.
Antonio Hester, meanwhile, finished with 40 points and 18 rebounds to lead Terrafirma, who absorbed its fourth straight loss and fell to 2-8.
Joshua Munzon had 24 points, while Juami Tiongson made 18 markers for the Dyip, who are missing yet another playoff trip.
Terrafirma will have a chance to finish its season strong against the streaking Tropang Giga on Wednesday, March 9, at 3 p.m.
NorthPort 124 – Artis 31, Santos 28, Bolick 21, Malonzo 21, Ferrer 11, Balanza 4, Taha 4, Doliguez 2, Rike 2.
Terrafirma 117 – Hester 40, Munzon 24, Tiongson 18, Daquioag 10, Calvo 8, Go 5, Camson 4, Ramos 4, Cahilig 2, Pascual 2, Batiller 0.
Quarterscores: 35-33, 57-69, 96-97, 124-117.
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.