By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The NorthPort Batang Pier are slowly meshing into the unit that head coach Pido Jarencio envisioned them to be after grabbing their third-straight win against the Phoenix Super LPG, 101-93, in the ongoing PBA Governor’s Cup.
Full of confidence and eager to make the playoffs, the Batang Pier once again relied heavily on their superstar import Jamel Artis who went full throttle from the get-go on his way to another 48-minute game and finished with 29 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Aside from Artis’ steady fine play, the balanced local attack from the entire Batang Pier team made the difference as Paolo Taha scored 19 points, Arwind Santos with 15 points, and Jerrick Balanza added 12 points.
NorthPort was leading the majority of the game despite the absence of their main man Robert Bolick who is still with Gilas Pilipinas as the FIBA Asia qualifiers finally kicked off this week.
However, Phoenix’s firepower led by the hot-shooting of sniper RJ Jazul helped them get back into the ball game with only a minute left in the final canto and cut NorthPort’s lead to just four, 97-93.
The Super LPG had the chance to cut the lead to three with 12 seconds left but superstar Matthew Wright failed to convert his three-point attempt from the top of the key.
After Wright’s miss, Batang Pier then capped off their third straight win with a nostalgic Santos double-handed slam from a Taha assist.
Phoenix’s import Dominique Sutton had another all-around performance with 23 points, 12 rebounds, three dimes, and three steals.
With the huge win, the Batang Pier are now sitting at the no. 9 spot in the rankings, a huge improvement from the past weeks where they were with the Blackwater Bossing and the Terrafirma Dyip at the bottom.