NorthPort’s amazing winning streak after a 0-5 start reached five straight after rallying from a big deficit to turn back Terrafirma, 124-117, Saturday, March 5 in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Arwind Santos, Robert Bolick and import Jamel Artis played primary roles in the comeback from a 19-point deficit as the Batang Pier put control of their own destiny with a game left in the eliminations.
The Batang Pier climbed to 5-5 for a share of seventh place with the slumping Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.
But NorthPort had to work its way back after Terrafirma broke loose in the second quarter to lead 67-48.
“We cannot take things for granted dito sa PBA,” said coach Pido Jarencio. “Terrafirma was up by 19 points against us, but our players don’t want to quit. Everybody’s helping, everybody’s communicating and all of the players stepped up.”
Santos had another all-around effort with 28 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the Batang Pier turnaround while Bolick posted 21 points and a career-high 17 assists.
Artis, mainly responsible for NorthPort’s improved play, contributed 31 points and eight rebounds, rookie Jamie Malonzo added 21 points and 12 rebounds for NorthPort and Kevin Ferrer put up 11 off the bench.
Antonio Hester’s 40 points and 18 rebounds and rookie Joshua Munzon’s 24 points were not enough to prevent another collapse as Terrafirma fell to 2-8.
Terrafirma was coming off a 112-107 defeat to Ginebra last Feb. 27 when it wasted a 22-point lead.
NorthPort surged back in the third, pulling to within 97-96 on Artis’ triple before the end of the period.
Santos and Malonzo would drop seven each in the fourth, including key baskets that enabled the Batang Pier to separate themselves from the Dyip.
The Batang Pier went up for good on Santos’ basket that broke a 112-all tie before Malonzo’s triple made it a five-point game. Bolick then left no doubt on the outcome when his layup with less than two minutes remaining made it 119-112.
NORTHPORT 124 — Artis 31, Santos 28, Bolick 21, Malonzo 21, Ferrer 11, Balanza 4, Taha 4, Doliguez 2, Rike 2.
TERRAFIRMA 117 — Hester 40, Munzon 24, Tiongson 18, Daquioag 10, Calvo 8, Go 5, Ramos 4, Camson 4, Cahilig 2, Pascual 2, Batiller 0.
Quarters: 35-33, 59-67, 96-97, 124-117.