NorthPort turns to defense late to beat NLEX, tally second win

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NorthPort came up with crucial stops in the clutch to snatch their second win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the expense of a struggling NLEX side, 95-90, Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Road Warriors trailed by only five, 89-94, with over a minute and a half remaining and looked poised to make a late push, but two consecutive swipes from Sean Anthony and Paolo Taha killed any hopes of that happening.

“Breaks of the game lang. We’re controlling the game, control namin yung game, and then in the 2nd half, we played good defense. And then, still total team effort,” head coach Pido Jarencio said. “Everybody’s contributing, doing their share.”

Anthony provided a well-rounded line with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and five assists to pace the Batang Pier. Mo Tautuaa put up an 18-point, 11 rebound double-double, while Robert Bolick, who initially struggled with his shot, wound up with 14 points and two reboundsndespite having seven turnovers.

NLEX, who dropped to 0-2, was led by a 19-point, seven-rebound outing off the bench by JP Erram. JR Quinahan added 18 points, six assists and five rebounds.

“2-0 ang layo pa, pero kahit papaano, isang NLEX team, matibay-tibay na team, tinalo natin. That would be a morale booster for the team, sa mga players, sa coaching staff. Sa lahat. Pag nanalo, nawawala lahat ng mga mali,” Jarencio added.

No team was able to erect anything more than a seven-point lead in this close affair.

The Scores:

NorthPort 95 – Anthony 22, Tautuaa 18, Bolick 14, Pringle 11, Taha 9, Elorde 8, Arana 4, Guinto 3, Flores 2, Lanete 2, Grey 2, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.

NLEX 90 – Erram 19, Quinahan 18, Galanza 11, Paniamogan 10, Magat 8, Tallo 7, Fonacier 5, Baguio 4, Ighalo 2, Alas 2, Soyud 2, Porter 2, Taulava 0, Rios 0.

Quarters: 25-22, 48-46, 71-70, 95-90.

(Photo credit: PBA Media Group)

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