NORTHPORT rode on a superb game by Christian Standhardinger to subdue Terrafirma, 107-96, and finally barge into the win column in the PBA Philippine Cup at the AUF Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Standhardinger finished with a near triple-double of 23 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Batang Pier, who ended an alarming four-game losing skid.
Kelly Nabong added 18 points, Garvo Lanete contributed 14 points and rookie Renzo Subido and Paolo Taha had 12 points apiece for the coach Pido Jarencio-mentored Batang Pier.
Nabong went 4-of-6 from the rainbow territory.
“Yung mga bata gusto na talagang manalo. Ayaw ma- 0-5 kaya madaming nag-step up. It’s a morale-boosting win for us,” said Jarecio.
“We’re down to a 11-strong team. Actually? 10-strong nga lang since Kevin (Ferrer) is playing injured. Pero talagang nag-step up sila,” added Jarencio.
The game was close and interesting when Subido, the 24th pick overall in last year’s Rookie Draft, and Nabong nailed three straight three-pointers to push the Batang Pier ahead for good, 104-90, with only 1:48 remaining.
CJ Perez topscored with 25 points for Terrafirma, which dropped to 0-4 and remained as the only winless team in the bubble tourney.
Standhardinger scored 20 points in the first half alone, including a layup to give the Batang Pier a 36-28 advantage.
But the Dyip battled their way back and finally caught up at 45-all on back-to-back baskets by Joseph Gabayni and Adams.
Terrafirma took a 64-60 lead midway in the third period but NorthPort scored 12 straight points — five by rookie Sean Mangati — for a 72-64 advantage.
The third period ended at 74-71 for the Batang Pier, which played minus Robert Bolick, Sean Anthony and Jonathan Grey.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra seeks its fifth straight win and a share of the lead with Talk N Text when it meets Magnolia Pambansang Manok in the latest installment of their “Manila Clasico” duel at 6:45 p.m. today.
Although some of its players are reportedly not in top shape yet, Ginebra won its first four assignments to remain as one of only two unbeaten teams in the NBA-inspired PBA bubble in Pampanga.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone is hoping they can continue their success even against an old, familiar rival in Magnolia.
“We’re in a good rhythm right now. We just got to make sure that we stay there, that we stay humble and realize what we’re doing is all because of hard work,” said Cone in an interview for the official PBA website.
Cone said there will be no problem motivating the Gin Kings to play well against the Hotshots.
“I mean that’s one of the games I don’t have to say any great words to motivate because they’re automatically motivated when you come to them,” said Cone.
“It’s great rivalry, it’s a fun rivalry. I’ve been fortunately on both sides… so I know what it was like from both sides. So, it’s really a great rivalry.”
But while Ginebra was hardly challenged in its first four wins, Magnolia is only 1-4.
In fact, the Hotshots have lost three straight games.
Experts blame it on the Hotshots’ endgame collapses, highlighted in the game against Phoenix Super LPG last Friday that saw the Fuel Masters go on a 22-0 run in the fourth quarter to erase a 17-point deficit and eke out a 91-84 victory.
In the 4 p.m. curtainraiser, Rain or Shine seeks to bounce back from a heartbreaking setback when it tangles with the skidding Blackwater.
The E-Painters swept their first three assignments before losing to Alaska, 88-89, after Rey Nambatac missed a make-or-break drive.
“Entering the bubble, most are not in game shape,” said coach Caloy Garcia.
NorthPort (107) – Standhardinger 23, Nabong 18, Lanete 14, Subido 12, Taha 12, Ferrer 8, Manganti 7, Guinto 6, Cruz 5, Elorde 2, Revilla 0. Terrafirma (96) – Perez 25, Adams 19, Tiongson 14, McCarthy 9, Ramos 9, Cahilig 8, Gabayni 6, Calvo 4, Balagasay 2, Faundo 0. Quarterscores: 27-20, 51-48, 74-71, 107-96.
(AUF Sports Arena)
4 p.m. — Rain or Shine nvs.Blackwater
6:45 p.m.– Ginebra vs. Magnolia