ANTIPOLO, Philippines – Arvin Tolentino and NorthPort refused to give Terrafirma its first season win by completing a 91-85 comeback victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center on Saturday, November 12.
Tolentino fired a career-high 31 points on top of 12 rebounds and 3 steals as the Batang Pier stormed back from 15 points down to send the hapless Dyip crashing to their 25th straight defeat.
Acquired from Barangay Ginebra during the break, Tolentino kept NorthPort afloat by unloading 20 points in the first half alone before William Navarro and Robert Bolick helped shoulder the load in their 4th-quarter comeback.
Terrafirma still led 81-78 with five minutes left but went scoreless in the next four minutes as Tolentino, who dropped 11 points in the final frame, sparked the win-clinching 13-2 run.
Navarro scored 5 points during that stretch, highlighting it with the dagger dunk off a Bolick steal and assist with under a minute left to finish with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Bolick churned out 12 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds to make up for a rough shooting performance that saw him miss 17 of his 21 field goals for a poor 19%.
Prince Ibeh contributed 9 points, 17 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 2 steals as the Batang Pier won back-to-back games for the first time this conference to improve to 5-5.
The Dyip enjoyed a 55-45 halftime lead with Alex Cabagnot (14), Lester Prosper (11), and Juami Tiongson (10) scoring in double figures at the half, but not even a double-digit cushion could secure the embattled franchise its first win.
Prosper ended up with 23 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks for Terrafirma, which officially bowed out of playoff contention after dropping to 0-9.
This is the 14th straight conference the Dyip missed the quarterfinals and ninth consecutive under the tutelage of head coach Johnedel Cardel.
Cabagnot had 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Tiongon put up 18 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 block.
NorthPort 91 – Tolentino 31, Bolick 12, Navarro 12, Ibeh 9, Sumang 7, Balanza 6, Ferrer 5, Ayaay 4, Salado 3, Chan 2, Taha 0.
Terrafirma 85 – Prosper 23, Tiongson 18, Cabagnot 16, Alolino 8, Ramos 8, Munzon 5, Calvo 3, Cahilig 2, Javelona 2, Camson 0, Gabayni 0, Gomez de Liano 0.
Quarters: 20-28, 45-55, 64-71, 91-85.