NorthPort blew a big third quarter lead but recovered just in time to stifle Alaska, 94-84, and continue to fight for a playoff spot in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Sean Anthony recorded a monster double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Stanley Pringle poured 12 of his 21 points in a pivotal fourth period that saw Batang Pier buck a strong push from an Aces side that’s also fighting for survival late in the conference.
NorthPort turned a three-point halftime lead into a 14-point advantage late in the third quarter, 71-57, but allowed Alaska to momentarily take a 74-71 lead early in the fourth as a Jake Pascual basket capped off a 14-0 start in the payoff period.
The Batang Pier later turned to Anthony and Pringle, who drained a triple and finished on a three-point play opportunity in the ensuing possessions, to help the team regain control.
The duo also scored the team’s next 16 points to pull away for good, with an Anthony jumper scoring the last of that run on a jumper to give NorthPort an 87-78 cushion with 3:54 left in the game.
Mo Tautuaa chipped in 14 points for NorthPort, which now sits at 4-5. The team will have to win its last matchup against Ginebra on April 3 to stay in the running for one of the last quarterfinal seats.
Jonathan Grey also finished with 13 points off the bench.
Carl Bryan Cruz knocked down six of his 11 attempts from downtown to wind up with 23 points and six assists. Sonny Thoss added 14 points and 10 boards for the Aces, who now find themselves sitting at 4-7 in the standings.
Per PBA statistician Fidel Magonon III, this win by NorthPort effectively puts Columbian and Meralco out of playoff contention.
NORTHPORT (94) – Anthony 24, Pringle 21, Tautaa 214, Grey 13, Taha 6, Flores 6, Bolick 3, Guinto 3, Elorde 2, Sollano 2, Lanete 0.
ALASKA (84) – Cruz 23, Thoss 13, Enciso 11, Banchero 8, Pascual 8, Ayaay 6, Casio 5, Baclao 3, Teng 2, Galliguez 2, Exciminiano 0.
Quarterscores: 16-19, 40-37, 71-60, 94-84.