Mar 14, 2023

Batang Pier determined to keep playoff hope alive, seek crucial W versus Tropang Giga

MOTIVATION is something NorthPort would not be lacking in when it guns for a much-needed win Wednesday that would assure it of a playoff spot for a quarterfinals slot in the PBA Governors' Cup at the PhilSports Arena.

The Batang Pier must first overcome powerhouse TNT in order to hit their immediate target of tying Phoenix Super LPG at eighth on similar 4-7 records, a deadlock which would be broken by a knockout game with the victor completing the eight-team quarterfinals.

The Tropang Giga, currently with an 8-1 slate, could actually afford to lose both their remaining games, which include the match Barangay Ginebra at end of the eliminations on Friday, but would still enjoy a top four finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.

Still, there is little doubt TNT would still go for a win that would assure it of not falling lower than No. 2 and a match-up with seventh-ranked Converge in the last eight.

Taking care of his side's own business is what consumes NorthPort coach Bonnie Tan most right now and he maintains that the biggest spur must come from his players who should not be content with what they have reached following a 0-6 start.

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"Kasi halos lahat nagsabi na wala na kami following our start. Pero 'yung ibang dating nauuna pa sa amin wala na ngayon (from the running) samantalang kami nandito pa," Tan pointed out.

"So given na may chance pa kami, dapat sunggaban namin. They have to dig deep within themselves at 'yung desire i-translate sa laro," he added.

"Sabi ko nga sa mga players, 'Kapag gusto n'yong mag-bakasyon na, pakita na lang tayo. Pero kung ayaw n'yo pa, nasa inyo na iyon,'" Tan also related.

"Kasi ang management, coaching staff hindi naman nagkukulang sa pagbibigay ng motivation sa team," added Tan. "So, at this point, nasa players na kung gusto pa nilang maglaro."

That should be especially true, according to Tan, for import Kevin Murphy. "Si Murphy pag natalo next day uwi na. So if he wants to prolong his stay, we have to win with him leading the way," bared the coach. "So I'm really challenging him."

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Murphy has already proven himself to be a capable replacement for original NorthPort import Marcus Weathers, currently averaging a league-best 37 points on top of 11.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

The likes of Robert Bolick, Arvin Tolentino, JM Calma and Joshua Munzon must also lead those who should be stepping up for Tan since they would be ranged against the likes of the equally explosive Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Roger Pogoy, Mikey Williams, Calvin Oftana and Jayson Castro. (NC)