MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort pounced on a Converge side missing import Quincy Miller and earned a 112-97 win that boosted its playoff bid in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 20.
The FiberXers saw their seven-game winning streak come to a halt after opting to sit out the former NBA player due to undisclosed reasons.
In uniform, Miller joined the team on the bench but did not play a single second.
Without Miller, the Batang Pier pulled away in the second half behind a big third-quarter showing from rookie forward William Navarro, who finished with career-highs of 29 points, 17 rebounds, 9 assists.
Navarro unloaded 16 points in the third period alone as NorthPort turned a slim 52-49 halftime lead to an 88-73 advantage going into the final salvo.
The former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, including a 2-of-2 clip from beyond the arc, in the pivotal third quarter.
Robert Bolick finished with 26 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds, while import Prince Ibeh flirted with a triple-double like Navarro with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 blocks in the third consecutive victory of the Batang Pier.
Arvin Tolentino chimed in 15 points and 7 rebounds for NorthPort, which improved to 6-5, a win away from securing a quarterfinal berth.
One of the top imports this tournament, Miller averaged 30.7 points, 16.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3 blocks as he powered Converge to the longest winning streak of the conference.
While the FiberXers managed to keep in step with the Batang Pier in the first half, his absence was severely felt in the third quarter, where Converge was outscored 36-24 en route to its first defeat in over a month.
Aljun Melecio posted 20 points, 8 assists, and 3 steals to lead the FiberXers, while Jeron Teng finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Maverick Ahanmisi and RK Ilagan put up 11 points each in the loss as Converge dropped to 8-3 and missed a chance to gain a share of the top spot with Bay Area.
NorthPort 112 – Navarro 29, Bolick 26, Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Sumang 9, Balanza 7, Ferrer 4, Ayaay 2, Chan 1, Caperal 0, Calma 0.
Converge 97 – Melecio 10, Teng 14, Ahanmisi 11, Ilagan 11, Tratter 9, Stockton 8, Arana 8, Browne 6, Racal 6, DiGregorio 2, Bulanadi 2, Ambohot 0.
Quarters: 28-18, 52-49, 88-73, 112-97.