NorthPort crushed Alaska, 122-94, to secure the fifth spot in the quarterfinals of the 46th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Thursday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Robert Bolick was at his best, turning in a triple-double performance while rookie Jamie Malonzo had another huge game for the Batang Pier, who finished the eliminations with a 5-5 win-loss slate to secure the fifth spot in the next round.
NorthPort will face fourth-seed San Miguel Beer in a best-of-three quarterfinal battle while Alaska kissed its title hopes goodbye with a 3-8 win-loss mark.
The Batang Pier’s win also gave Barangay Ginebra San Miguel a sliver of hope as it will face Phoenix Super LPG in a do-or-die match for the eighth spot and the right to battle topseed TNT Tropang Giga in the quarterfinals.
The Kings suffered a 66-79 loss to Meralco early in the day, but still clung on to the quarterfinal parade following the setback of the Aces.
Aside from TNT against the survivor of the Ginebra-Phoenix duel and San Miguel-NorthPort encounter, third seed Magnolia will face sixth seed Rain or Shine in a best-of-three series while second seed Meralco will be armed with a twice-to-beat edge against seventh seed Meralco in the other quarterfinal pairings.
Bolick carried the Batang Pier all night long, firing 22 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists while Malonzo logged 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks for the Batang Pier, who still dominated despite giving Greg Slaughter and Sean Anthony a breather.
The former San Beda University star, Bolick, was so impressive that he emerged as the first player to register a rare triple-double in the first three quarters since import Justin Brownlee powered the Kings to a 129-124 win over San Miguel in the Governors’ Cup eliminations in 2019.
“We really want to build a winning culture here. I made it because of the help of our coaching staff who really believed in us,” said Bolick, who became the first local player to post such glowing numbers since Ronnie Magsanoc logged 32 points, 13 rebounds and 18 assists during Shell’s 155-108 rout of Pepsi in the 1990 All-Filipino Conference.
“We really wanted to give our best and we will live with the results.”
After a strong first half 61-43, the Batang Pier continued to step on the gas as Yousef Taha and Malonzo mounted the lead to 20, 107-87, with 6:41 remaining in the final quarter.
Renzo Subido hit a triple that gave NorthPort its biggest lead at 29, 120-91, with only 1:52 to play.
NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio said that they are bracing themselves for a tough grind against the powerhouse Beermen squad.
“We know that they are a champion team, so we’ll just be there. We will be competitive and ready for the playoffs,” Jarencio said.
“This is a good momentum for us. At least we’re coming off a victory and we will carry it to the playoffs.”
MERALCO 79 – Pasaol 15, Belo 15, Newsome 10, Quinto 8, Maliksi 7, Jamito 7, Almazan 6, Caram 4, Hodge 3, Pinto 2, Baclao 2, Jackson 0
GINEBRA 66 – Pringle 19, Standhardinger 17, Tenorio 11, Chan 7, Mariano 6, Devance 4, Dillinger 2, Caperal 0, Enriquez 0, Holmqvist 0
Quarters: 23-15, 47-32, 55-51, 79-66
NORTHPORT 122 – Bolick 22, Malonzo 21, Taha 18, Onwubere 13, Rike 12, Ferrer 7, Doliguez 7, Balanza 6, Elorde 5,Subido 5, Grey 4, Faundo 2, Lanete 0
ALASKA 94 – Teng 18, Tratter 13, DiGregorio 13, Adamos 10, Casio 9, Banal 7, Browne 5, Brondial 5, Stockton 4, Marcelino 4, Ilagan 3, Ebona 3, Publico 0
Quarters: 28-20, 61-43, 94-78, 122-94