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Tiebreaker Times


Playing against ‘idols’ Tenorio and Caguiao, Paolo Taha tried his best to keep Northport alive

Paolo Taha played the best game of his pro career on Friday evening in Game Four of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series between NorthPort and his former team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. 

The athletic combo guard fired 29 points, including 21 in the third canto alone where he helped the Batang Pier trim a big 22-point second quarter gap to just eight, 58-66, with 6:54 on the clock.

“Credit to my teammates din, they were trying to find me. I was open. Good thing I was making the shots,” said the 29-year-old.

“I was trying to be aggressive kasi nga siyam lang kami eh,” he added, since NorthPort only had nine players, with Sol Mercado and Kevin Ferrer out due to injuries.

Unfortunately, his efforts went for naught. NorthPort lost, 120-107, and its dream run in the tilt ended.

Still, Taha and the rest of the Batang Pier aren’t hanging their heads. Their last three games may have ended in lopsided fashion, but the five-year pro remains proud of his team.

It truly was a conference to remember for them, after all. NorthPort had to go through personnel changes, but still went on to win four consecutive knockout games to head to the semis.

It even shocked many when it tore Ginebra by 34 points in the semis opener to gain a headstart in the series.

“We gave our best tonight kaso talo.

“At least ‘di ba we’re in the semis, although we fell short. Pero we’re proud of my team, my coaches. No one expected us to be here but we’re here,” Taha said.

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Apparently, a former teammate of his was proud of him as well. Moments after the match at SMART Araneta Coliseum, Taha had a lengthy conversation with Mark Caguioa.

For Taha, Caguioa — the 2012 league Most Valuable Player and a teammate of his from 2016 to 2018 where they won a PBA championship together — as well as LA Tenorio, are his role models.

“Kuya Mark and kuya LA, very close to me. They give me advice every time, on and off the court. Sila ‘yung role model ko rito sa PBA, sila yung tinitingala ko,” said the St. Benilde product.

“Kasi I was teammates with them, at siyempre nakita ko kung paano sila as a person, as a professional, so I admire them as a person and as a basketball player. I respect them a lot.”

Written By

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

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