NorthPort ended two months of futility in spectacular fashion by annihilating TNT, 109-83, in their PBA Philippine Cup encounter on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Four starters, led by Stanley Pringle’s 27 points and nine rebounds, completed the job as the Batang Pier snatched their first win since a 95-90 win over NLEX last January 20.
NorthPort never trailed after getting off to a 22-16 first quarter start and used a 31-point second period—kicked off by four straight triples and puncutated by an easy two from Mo Tautuaa to give them a 27-point lead—to completely separate themselves from the KaTropa.
TNT tried to get a small run going in the second half as a 13-2 start put them within 11, 44-55, but a sharper NorthPort offense proved to be too much of a hump to overcome the rest of the way.
“Actually yung talo naman namin last five or six games puro breaks of the game,” head coach Pido Jarencio said. “Ngayon naman parang perfect game first half hanggang second half.”
“Manalo kaming tatlo o dalawa baka mag playoffs. Basta one game at atime. Habulin namin playoffs. Well-rested mga players ngayon kaya maganda yung rotation. We were making or shots. ‘Yung mga libre pumapasok,” he added.
The loss gave TNT a 7-4 card to end the elimination. This meant that Rain or Shine has locked up the second seed by virtue of having an 8-3 record in the standings and by owning the tiebreaker over Ginebra (6-3).
NorthPort shot a blistering 46 percent from beyond the arc (14-for-30), with nine of those coming in a scorching first half show. They also finished with a 52 percent shooting clip.
Sean Anthony pitched in 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench, while Tautuaa and Paolo Taha added 13 apiece. Robert Bolick also flirted with a triple-double (eight points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) in the start.
TNT, meanwhile, was paced by Don Trollano’s 15 points and seven boards. The team struggled mightily from the line as they made only six of 21 attempts from the stripe.
NORTHPORT (109) – Pringle 27, Anthony 14, Tautuaa 13, Taha 13, Flores 11, Grey 9, Bolick 8, Elorde 8, Lanete 6, Guinto 0, Sollano 0.
TNT (83) – Trollano 15, Washington 13, Pogoy 10, Cruz 7, Reyes 7, Castro 7, Rosario 6, Miranda 6, Taha 5, Williams 4, Golla 2, Semerad 1, Heruela 0, Carey 0, Casino 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 53-31, 82-61, 109-83.