NorthPort and Phoenix Super LPG dispute the eighth and final quarterfinals spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup when they face in a one-game playoff Sunday, March 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The match is set at 6:30 p.m. with the Batang Pier or Fuel Masters earning the right to face the top seed and twice-to-beat Magnolia Pambansang Manok in the quarters.
Both teams were forced to meet in a knockout affair after falling short in their final elimination round matches last Friday.
Phoenix lost 109-90 to Meralco after the latter pulled away in the second half while NorthPort fell to a 106-101 overtime decision against TNT despite rallying from an 18-point deficit.
NorthPort prevailed over Phoenix, 101-93, in their lone elims meeting last Feb. 26 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City, with import Jamel Artis and Arwind Santos playing the lead roles.
Phoenix lost that game in the final game of import Dominique Sutton, who was then replaced by the energetic Du’Vaughn Maxwell.
Maxwell will be tasked by coach Topex Robinson to provide a different dimension after posting 23.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks through two games with Phoenix.
But NorthPort also played that match sans its ace scorer Robert Bolick, who was then busy playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Bolick continues to show why he has become one of the PBA’s premier stars after averaging 22.1 points on 43-percent shooting with 6.6 rebound, 9.0 assists and 2.3 steals in the elims.
Santos was a key cog in beating Phoenix, with 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and is once again expected to provide all the goods in order for NorthPort to advance.
Artis was perhaps the key reason why NorthPort turned things around following a 0-5 start with averages of 30.9 points on 47-percent shooting, 8.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.3 steals.
Phoenix tries to counter with Matthew Wright (18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.9 steals), Jason Perkins (13.1 points, 6.9 rebounds) and RJ Jazul (10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals).