BLACKWATER miserably failed the self-imposed litmus test right on its initial outing in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday and NorthPort made sure of that.
Rookie Robert Bolick Jr. readily made an impact right on his first foray in the pro league as he led a dazzling NorthPort offensive that carried it to a 117-91 spanking of the Elite before a sizeable crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bolick, picked third overall by Blackwater during the off-season draft, scored 26 points and had three rebounds and three assists in a remarkable debut rarely seen in a rookie in the PBA.
The sweet-shooting guard out of San Beda in the NCAA did not seem to show any jitters whatsoever in his debut as manifested by his manifold veteran moves inside his 36-minute stint on the floor.
Four others – Paolo Taha, Stanley Pringle, Mo Tautuaa and Bradwyn Guinto – also shone on offense for NorthPort which thus opened its campaign in the prestigious conference on a high note.
Taha, Pringle, Tautuaa and Guinto finished with 11 points or more in a sheer display of impressive marksmanship by the Batang Pier, who led by as many as 29 points (111-82) on a freethrow by Nico Elorde with 4:54 left in the game.
The Elite had their own rookie to speak off in Abu Tratter who also debuted with flourish after finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds in their losing cause.
The Elite actually enjoyed double-digit lead behind big baskets from Gelo Alolino, Mike DiGregorio and Rafael Banal, but slowly lost their grip of it in the face of the Batang Pier’s intense offensive.
By the time the second quarter reached its last 1:31 minute mark, the Batang Pier had already tied the score at 48-all, before Bradwyn Guinto, Sean Anthony and Pringle teamed up for a 7-0 roll which put NorthPort on top at 55-48 at the turn.
Bolick made his first basket in his budding professional cage career in the 10:50 minute mark in the first half, converting on a difficult drive while fishing off a foul from Roi Sumang.
The much-advertised former San Beda stalwart whom NorthPort picked third overall in the off-season draft, then sank the foul throw to give the Batang Pier an 8-0 start against the Elite.
Stanley Pringle cut loose with a triple and Bolick scored on another drive as NorthPort made it 13-3. It looked like the Elite were merely sizing up the Batang Pier, and Sumang sank consecutive triple to highlight a long Blackwater run that saw two more rookies shine on their first foray in the league.
Paul Disiderio and Tratter, respectively picked fourth and seventh by NLEX before they were traded to Blackwater, readily made their impact too right on their initial sortie in the league.
Disiderio, noted for his big role in University of the Philippines’ run-up to the UAAP finals, scored a triple and converted on a transition play, while Tratter, formerly of La Salle Green Archers, had back-to-back baskets in a 24-9 Blackwater blitzkrieg for a 31-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.
NorthPort (117) - Bolick 26, Taha 21, Anthony 19, Pringle 16, Guinto 12, Tautuaa 11, Elorde 5, Flores 4, Arana 3, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Blackwater (91) - Tratter 18, Sumang 16, Maliksi 13, Javier 11, Belo 8, Digregorio 5, Jose 5, Desiderio 5, Alolino 4, Sena 2, Banal 2, Eriobu 2, Palma 0, Dario 0.
Quarters: 22-31, 55-48, 88-75, 117-91.