By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Northport Batang Pier last week finally took the floor in the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) resumption after being held off for some time over the league’s health and safety protocols and has been doing well, owing to steady communication and being on the same page.
In three matches from Sept. 9 to 12, the Batang Pier went unscathed to jack up their record to 4-3, good for solo sixth place in the Philippine Cup, with still four games left to play.
And the team did it amid a not-so-ideal situation, with its whole coaching staff sidelined by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“It’s actually an interesting week for us. Our coaching staff had to leave the bubble because of COVID protocols and that left us players to coach ourselves for the first little while,” shared team captain Sean D. Anthony in a media forum organized by sports brand Under Armour on Saturday.
As the team captain, veteran Mr. Anthony said he and the other leaders in the team made sure that the rest of the squad were aware of what needed to be done both as individuals and as part of the team, saying, ”Individually, we have to step up on our own, be professional and not let anything drop just because our coaches are not around.”
Team manager Bonnie Tan eventually joined the squad in the bubble in Pampanga to be the interim coach and Mr. Anthony said it only helped the team more as Mr. Tan, along with assistant team manager Waiyip Chong, is allowing them to continue sorting things out as far as handling their game is concerned.
After sitting out the opening week of the PBA restart at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym in Bacolor, Northport opened things up with a dominant win, 98-73, over the hapless Blackwater Bossing on Sept. 9, then followed it up with another impressive victory over the Terrafirma Dyip, 104-84, on Sept. 11.
It completed a sweep of its week’s assignments with a hard-earned victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, 96-94, on Sunday.
Robert Bolick matched his career-high of 26 points in said game, where they hanged tough in the end to fend off a spirited fight back by the Road Warriors.
Mr. Anthony and Paulo Taha each had 14 points while rookie Jamie Malonzo finished with 13 points.
Northport is expecting continued challenges ahead with encounters with league-leading TnT Tropang Giga, Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, Rain or Shine Elastopainters and Alaska Aces still on deck for them.
Mr. Anthony, however, believes what the team has gone through would serve it in good stead moving forward.
“This adversity has made the team stronger as a team and closer. We have been very communicative and on the same page and it has been doing good for us and hopefully we can continue it,” he said.
PBA Philippine Cup action resumes on Wednesday, with the schedule of the matches for the week set to be released on Tuesday.