By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The NorthPort Batang Pier squad pulled off a late offensive run to spark their comeback against the winless Terrafirma Dyip, 91-85, during the ongoing 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on November 12.
Down by as much as 15 points in the game, NorthPort avoided humiliation as Terrafirma went close to ending their 24-game losing streak.
It was a slow start for NorthPort as they just couldn’t keep up with Terrafirma’s rejuvenated pace in the first half.
The duo of Lester Prosper and Alex Cabagnot made things difficult for the Batang Pier as the 1-2 punch schooled the NorthPort defense that helped them establish a 55-45 lead at the half.
Just when Terrafirma thought they could take full control of the game, newly-acquired swingman Arvin Tolentino answered the call for NorthPort and steered his team to a dramatic comeback.
The former Barangay Ginebra San Miguel unloaded a career-high 32-point outing including 12 rebounds and three steals and was the ex-factor that led to their massive offensive rally in the second half.
NorthPort struck its hardest punch in the last five minutes of the game after their defensive schemes clicked that held Terrafirma scoreless for four-straight minutes.
It was Tolentino’s baskets that kicked off Batang Pier’s 13-2 closing run backstopped by clutch shots from William Navarro and Robert Bolick.
Navarro sent the final exclamation point after slamming the ball off a Bolick steal with only 54 seconds remaining in the game.
The Gilas Pilipinas young cadet had another promising performance despite only playing his fourth game with NorthPort since formalizing his contract with the franchise and ended up with 12 points and seven boards.
Meanwhile, Prosper once again filled the stat sheets for Terrafirma but wasn’t enough to help his team grab their first-ever win in the conference.
Prosper finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks while Cabagnot chipped in 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists.