NORTHPORT rallied from 25 points down to beat Rain or Shine in overtime, 107-105, and gain a share of the lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Everybody thought the Elasto Painters were in for an easy sailing after posting a 25-point lead early in the third period of the game.
What the fans saw instead were the Batang Pier showing much determination in the fourth period and in the extension on the way to the victory.
Mo Tautuaa led the Batang Pier with 34 points and 11 rebounds, and was at his best in the extension when he scored a big triple that gave them a 107-102 lead, with 26 seconds left.
A quick triple by Denzel Bowles put the Painters within 107-105, and had a couple of breaks when NorthPort’s import Prince Ibeh muffed two pressure-packed freethrows off Bowles’foul.
The Batang Pier though secured the rebound to keep the ball possession that virtually sealed the outcome for Northport which continued to show its grit and spunk in the post-Stanley Pringle era.
The Batang Pier has now notched its sixth win in seven outings, gaining a share of the lead with Talk ‘N Text in the midseason conference.
The Painters on the other hand suffered their third loss after back-to-back victories.
Meanwhile, Stanley Pringle attended his first practice with Barangay Ginebra yesterday on the same day Sol Mercado formally bade farewell to the league’s most popular ballclub.
Pringle and the 35-year old Mercado were part of the trade approved by the PBA on Tuesday.
The deal had NorthPort sending the sweet-shooting Pringle to Ginebra in exchange for Mercado, Jervy Cruz and Kevin Ferrer.
Pringle ended his five-year stint with the team that had selected him number one during the 2014 draft.
Pringle missed several games with the Batang Pier because of injury. His absence however hardly tolled on the Batang Pier who kept themselves in the thick of things in the conference.
The Gin Kings, on the other hand, have been hot and cold, splitting their first six outings and the acquisition of Pringle, a high-scoring player, may just be very timely for them.
NorthPort 107 - Tautuaa 34, Bolick 22, Lanete 16, Anthony 14, Taha 12, Ibeh 9, Arana 0.
Rain or Shine 105 - Bowles 41, Mocon 16, Daquioag 12, Nambatac 11, Rosales 10, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Ponferada 2, Borboran 2, Torres 2, Alejandro 0.
Quarterscores: 17-25, 40-49, 63-84, 100-100, 107-105.