By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Northport Batang Pier outlasted the Rain or Shine (ROS) Elastopainters, 91-88, in overtime in a grind-it-out Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup match on Sunday to fan their quarterfinal push.
Dealt back-to-back losses entering the contest, the Batang Pier dug deep so as not to fall for a third straight time as they try to book a spot in the playoffs of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association tournament.
Big man Greg Slaughter towered for Northport, finishing with a game-high 25 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and six blocks, the last of his swat coming in the dying seconds of OT to preserve the win for them.
Down by three points, 91-88, with five seconds to play in overtime, Rain or Shine had a chance to tie the count after veteran James Yap was fouled by Northport rookie Jamie Malonzo from the three-point line.
Unfortunately for the Elastopainters, Mr. Yap missed all of his free throws.
Off a rebound, Mr. Malonzo was fouled with three seconds left. He, however, missed both his freebies to keep the door open for Rain or Shine.
After a time out, Rain or Shine got the ball to Gabe Norwood, who soared for a potential game-tying triple but was blocked by Mr. Slaughter as time expired.
The win improved Northport to 5-5 with one game to play in the eliminations. The Batang Pier are currently at joint sixth place with the NLEX Road Warriors.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, closed out its elimination assignments with a 6-5 record, already assured of a spot in the next round.
Robert Bolick also had a solid game for Northport in the victory, finishing with 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Sean Anthony had nine points and 10 rebounds while Mr. Malonzo had eight points and 14 boards.
“We’re a group that just wants to win,” said Mr. Slaughter after the game.
For Rain or Shine, it was Jewel Ponferada who led with 17 points, followed by Beau Belga, 11 and Mr. Yap and rookie Leonard Santillan with nine points apiece.
BLACKWATER INTERIM COACH
Meanwhile, already-eliminated Blackwater Bossing named Ariel Vanguardia as interim coach, replacing Nash Racela.
The team, which lost all of its 11 matches in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, made the announcement on Sunday.
Including the eight straight defeats it had in last year’s bubble tournament, the Bossing set a new league record in successive losses at 19.
The Blackwater management is hoping that Mr. Vanguardia, who already had head coaching experience in the PBA in the past, would be able to turn things around for the team.
The Bossing are also set to reevaluate their roster and hope to come back more competitive in the next tournament.