Robert Bolick and Stanley Pringle conspired in the clutch to save the NorthPort Batang Pier from the hands of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 100-97, in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Bolick drained a cold-blooded trey with 52.9 seconds remaining after Ginebra took a 97-95 lead from seven down with 5:32 to go. Pringle then did his part moments later, sinking his charities with 8.1 ticks left to seal the win.
The third overall pick in the 2018 Rookie Draft finished with 24 points – his best since his 26-point outburst in his pro debut last January – along with five assists. Meanwhile, Pringle flirted with a triple-double, churning out nine points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.
“Robert made a big shot,” lauded NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio. “We’re thankful na nalagpasan namin Ginebra. Alam naman natin na Ginebra’s a complete team, it’s a well-coached team, at saka maganda sistema.”
“Ang lakas ng team na yon,” warned Jarencio of RoS. “May gwardya, may sentro, may power foward, may Gilas players… dehadong-dehado kami roon. Pero bilog ang bola sabi nga nila. Tingnan natin kung maka-adjust kami.”
“Atsaka gustong-gusto ko talagang mag padala ng pansit sa kanila eh. Kaya kailangang pagtrabahuan natin yon,” Jarencio added jokingly.
Sean Anthony finished with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a game-high six steals in the morale-boosting victory. He has become a concern for Jarencio, however, as the 6-foot-4 forward incurred a groin injury during the game.
“My main concern si Sean talaga. Parang may pumitik sa groin niya ngayon lang eh. Kaya nga ‘di ko na ginamit kanina eh. Ayaw na nating ma-aggravate yung injury,” Jarencio lamented. “Sana maging healthy siya for the quarters.”
Mo Tautuaa had 17 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, while Bradwyn Guinto chimed in 14 markers.
Greg Slaughter led Ginebra with 14 points and five rebounds. Jervy Cruz had 13 points and five boards as well, while Sol Mercado notched a double-double performance with 10 points and 11 assists. He also added three rebounds.
The defeat spoiled Joe Devance’ season debut, though. The versatile 6-foot-7 forward played for 12 minutes and 44 seconds, and produced seven points, four rebounds, a steal, and a block against three turnovers.
NorthPort head into the quarterfinals as the seventh seed, and will face Rain or Shine Elasto Painters with a twice-to-beat disadvantage. Their face-off will be on Sunday, April 7, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Meanwhile, the loss does not affect the Gin Kings’ status for the quarterfinals, as they have locked the third seed. Ginebra will face the Magnolia Hotshots in a best-of-three Manila Clasico series. Their clash will start this Saturday, April 6.
Northport (100) – Bolick 24, Anthony 19, Tautuaa 17, Guinto 14, Pringle 9, Grey 9, Taha 6, Flores 2, Elorde 0, Lanete 0, Sollano 0.
Ginebra (97) – Slaughter 14, Cruz 13, Mercado 10, Thompson 9, dela Cruz 8, Aguilar 8, Ferrer 7, Devance 7, CAperal 4, MAriano 4, Teodoro 4, Tenorio 3 Chan 3, Aguila 3, Caguioa 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 47-45, 77-72, 100-97.