Sean Anthony was frank enough to admit that he and his NorthPort Batang Pier teammates were emotionally low when they set out for Wednesday night's duel against the Rain or Shine E-Painters.
Nobody could blame them if they felt that way. A spate of injuries to Lervin Flores, Brabwyn Guinto, Nico Elorde and Jonathan Grey left the team with only eight personnel. And as if it wasn't enough, their star, Stanley Pringle, was traded away to Barangay Ginebra on the eve of the big game.
To Anthony's surprise, the team didn't show a bit of those negativity when it took the floor.
They were outnumbered, but not outfought.
What's even more surprising was the tremendous amount character the Batang Pier displayed amid all the distraction confronting the team to battle back from a 25-point deficit and beat the E-Painters, 107-105 in overtime.
"I was impressed. That just shows the growth that we've come," said Anthony, who had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the win that earned NorthPort a piece of the lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
"We've been up 20 and we're losing last conference and last year. And to be down 25? Wow! And a comeback in one quarter, that just shows the spirit and the camaraderie that we've gotten," said Anthony.
"Guys were a little down with some of the stuff that happened. We had Jonathan Grey go down with a really freak injury. We all felt bad for him, and then that Stanley thing happened last night."
Anthony said it took a while for they could get their energy right.
"Once we started playing with the right energy at the end of third quarter, we just started rallying," said Anthony, who was all praises for Mo Tautuaa and Robert Bolick.
"Guys stepped up huge. Mo, Rob, Prince (Ibeh), everyone. Garvo (Lanete) hit threes. The momentum came in our end once we got our energy and we got back to the pace that we like to play. I'm just so proud of us tonight."
Tautuaa finished with a career-high 34 points while Bolick had 22, including the game-tying three that sent the game into overtime.(JB)