NorthPort’s dream run in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup ended on Friday evening after bowing to Justin Brownlee and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game Four of their best-of-five semis series.
But the Batang Pier refused to hang their heads. After all, getting to where they were was an achievement in itself already.
The conference started shakily for NorthPort. Last October, changes among its personnel occurred when it traded Mo Tautuaa to San Miguel Beer for Christian Standhardinger.
Then just days after that blockbuster deal, the team decided to part ways with original import Mychal Ammons and brought in Michael Qualls, a veteran in the NBA G-League.
The arrival of the two injected more life to the Batang Pier, but the squad suffered a big blow when star rookie Robert Bolick tore his ACL versus the Beermen last October 23.
Losses then hit NorthPort, but that didn’t stop the crew from trying. It eventually went on to the quarters after defeating NLEX and then Ginebra in its last two eliminations games.
The Batang Pier then faced the top-seeded Road Warriors in the quarters at a twice-to-beat disadvantage. But they, a team hounded by injuries, overcame the hurdle in epic fashion and made it to the semis.
They made history along the way, becoming just the fourth eight-seed to oust a number one in league history.
The surprises did not stop there. In Game One of their semis clash with the Gin Kings, the Batang Pier clobbered the latter by 34 points to take an early lead in the series.
Ginebra regained its bearings, however, and swept the next three games en route to the Finals. Still, NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio sees no reason for him and his team to feel disappointed.
“Okay pa rin kami. Nag-overachieve kami. Wala naman nag-expect na nandito kami eh.”
What the Batang Pier have done in this season-ending meet will be a great boost for their campaign next season. And Jarencio vowed that they will keep on fighting.
“Basta kami, we’re always preparing for the next conference. Kung sino man ang lineup, lalaban tayo. ‘Yun lang naman ang sa akin eh, lalaban lang.”
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