NORTHPORT played nowhere like an undermanned team as it crushed Alaska, 103-81, for an auspicious start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Center.
The Batang Pier played without top gunner Stanley Pringle, Bradwyn Guinto and Garvo Lanete who are all still nursing injuries they sustained during the last Philippine Cup.
Their absence though hardly tolled on NorthPort which dominated the Aces just the same from start to finish, thanks to the sustained effort of Sean Anthony, Robert Bolick, import Prince Ibeh and Mo Tautuaa.
Anthony finished with 22 points and six rebounds, Bolick and Ibeh chipped in 19 points apiece and Tautuaa added 12 as the Batang Pier caught the Aces in their off night this early in the midseason conference.
With the win, the Batang Pier gained a piece of early lead Blackwater which subdued Meralco in overtime, 94-91, at the start of the tournament last Sunday.
The Aces on the other hand tumbled to their first setback as they failed to make a follow-up to their 111-98 spanking of Columbian Dyip, also last Sunday.
Signs of their capability to compete even in the absence of playmaker Pringle was readily seen early in the game when the Batang Pier managed to keep abreast with the Aces’ offensive.
The Batang Pier posted a 12-point lead late in the second quarter (49-37) and never wavered on offense on the way to repeating over the Aces whom they also defeated back in the elimination round of the Philippine Cup.
The Batang Pier entered the fourth period enjoying a shaky 75-66 lead which they stretched to as many as 15, 89-74, with a little over seven minutes remaining.
As if that was not enough, the Batang Pier even made it 97-76 in the last three minutes as they totally broke the backs of the Aces who could not seem to get their acts going.
The Aces outscored the Batang Pier at the start of the second period, with Daniels, Sonny Thoss and Jeron Teng providing key plays as Alaska tied the count at 35-all.
However, the Aces quickly fell behind as the Batang Pier quickly reacted to the situation by unloading a 14-2 blitz ignited by Sean Anthony’s triple and capped by Robert Bolick’s three-pointer that gave NorthPort a 49-37 lead.
NorthPort 103 - Anthony 22, Bolick 19, Ibeh 19, Grey 13, Tautuaa 12, Taha 9, Elorde 5, Arana 4, Flores 0.
Alaska 81 - Daniels 21, Enciso 10, Ayaay 10, Cruz 9, Casio 8, Baclao 7, Exciminiano 6, Thoss 4, Teng 2, Pascual 2, Racal 2, Galliguez 0, Babilonia 0.
Quarterscores: 28-21, 51-42, 75-66, 103-81