NorthPort advanced to the PBA Philippune Cup playoffs as the seventh seed by edging Ginebra, 100-97, late in their clash on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Robert Bolick led the cavalry with 24 points, but none were bigger than a huge triple he drilled from the left arc to give the Batang Pier a 98-97 lead with 52 seconds left in the game.
Two free throws from Stanley Pringle and their second stop on Ginebra in the final minute later sealed the win.
Bolick, who made 8-of-14 shots and hit four threes, also tallied five assists and three rebounds.
The rookie put up 13 of his 24 points in a strong third frame, including a triple that put the Batang Pier ahead, 72-65, with about two minutes left in the quarter.
However, it took them a while to shake off a pesky Ginebra side that even went on an 11-3 run in the payoff period to take a 97-95 advantage with 1:12 on the clock.
Sean Anthony finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six steals, while Mo Tautuaa addedd 17 markers, seven dimes and five boards.
“We’re thankful na nalagpasan namin Ginebra. Alam naman natin na Ginebra is Ginebra—it’s a complete team, it’s well coached team, at saka maganda sistema. Yun lang breaks of the game nanalo sila. Tsamba nga, kung sabihin natin,” head coach Pido Jarencio said.
The win capped off an inspiring climb back from the bottom for NorthPort, who suffered two months of futility before stringing together three consecutive wins to finish with a 6-5 record and squirm its way into the playoff picture.
The Batang Pier will be facing second-seeded Rain or Shine in the playoffs with a twice-to-beat disadvantage.
Ginebra, on the other hand, ended the elimination round with a 7-4 record as the third-seeded squad.
Greg Slaughter paced the Gin Kigns with 14 points.
NorthPort’s win means Alaska and NLEX will be going up against each other in a playoff for the eighth and final playoff spot on Friday.
NORTHPORT (100) – Bolick 24, Anthony 19, Tautuaa 17, Guinto 14, Pringle 9, Grey 9, Taha 6, Flores 2, Elorde 0, Lanete 0, Sollano 0.
GINEBRA (97) – Slaughter 14, Cruz 13, Mercado 10, Thompson 9, dela Cruz 8, Aguilar 8, Ferrer 7, Devance 7, CAperal 4, MAriano 4, Teodoro 4, Tenorio 3 Chan 3, Aguila 3, Caguioa 0.