Anthony's clutch points
save day for NorthPort
SEAN Anthony delivered the clutch points in the stretch and enabled NorthPort to hold off Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok 102-99 Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Anthony's elbow jumper and four pressure-packed free throws inside the last 65 seconds kept the Batang Pier just out of the clutches of the Hotshots who found ways to make the game close despite new import James Farr's struggles.
The likes of Paolo Taha, Jonathan Grey, Mo Tautuaa and even Nico Elorde led the other NorthPort players who played out their part and made up for the absence of Stanley Pringle (ankle pain) and the generally listless game of their own import, Prince Ibeh.
As a result, the Batang Pier pulled off their second straight win and fifth in six games that tied them with idle Blackwater for the lead.
Winning coach Pido Jarencio is simply glad with the team effort his charges displayed.
"Iyung mga players nag-i-step up, nag-de-deliver," noted Jarencio following the hard-earned follow-up to his team's more lopsided 121-88 win over San Miguel Beer last Wednesday.
"They're doing their share," added Jarencio. "Hindi isa, dalawa, tatlong tao lang. Lahat tumutulong."
Taha added 16 points, Tautuaa and Grey 14 apiece, with the Fil-Tongan adding 11 boards, and Elorde 12 before exiting the game due to a suspected pulled hamstring 6:29 left in the game.
Robert Bolick added 11 points and Ibeh, who has been complaining of tightness on his back since the opening quarter, 10 points, 13 caroms and four blocked shots.
Ian Sangalang led all scorers with 21 points and added 10 rebounds and Robbie Herndon matched his career-high with 18 points to pace Magnolia, which fell to a 0-2 slate despite Farr, a replacement for the injured John Fields and who arrived only last Monday, feeling the ill effects of jet-lag and the hot, humid local weather.
It showed in the way the former Xavier Musketeer-turned-European campaigner, scored 11 points, hauled down 14 rebounds and had four assists and as many blocks. But went just 5-of-26 from the field and also committed six turnovers. Plus, he missed his first seven shots of the fourth quarter before scoring on a putback that made it 97-100, only 3.3 ticks to go.
"Tough loss para sa Magnolia. Nag-change sila ng import, tingin ko nag-a-adjust pa," offered Jarencio. "Tingin ko magaling iyung import nila, eh."
The struggles spilled over to the locals as Paul Lee finished with 16 points but only on a 5-of-13 shooting, while Mark Barroca's 14 points came only through a 5-of-10 clip.
The two, however, played major roles in the Hotshots' fightback from as much as 16 points down and a 13-point deficit in the fourth period.
After making just six triples in the first three quarters, the Hotshots boomed in five in the fourth with Lee and Barroca accounting for two apiece.
Anthony was there to save the day with an elbow jumper and four free throws that kept the Batang Pier's heads above water.
Unlike in its conference debut that resulted in an 80-103 loss to Alaska also last Wednesday, Magnolia did get off to a fast start this time and even led by 10 early.
But once NorthPort got its bearings and followed the lead of Anthony and Tautuaa, it did not take long for the tide to turn with the Batang Pier leading by as much as 70-54 before sitting on an eight-point cushion going to the final canto.
Elorde's triple padded the lead to 75-62, but all hopes of another runaway win soon vanished when Magnolia suddenly came alive. (NC)
NorthPort 102 - Anthony 22, Taha 16, Tautuaa 14, Grey 14, Elorde 12, Bolick 11, Ibeh 10, Lanete 3, Gabayni 0.
Magnolia 99 - Sangalang 21, Herndon 18, Lee 16, Barroca 14, Farr 11, Jalalon 7, Brondial 5, Ramos 3, Melton 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 16-23, 48-43, 70-62, 102-99.