MANILA, Philippines – The NorthPort Batang Pier lived to fight another day at the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup, in turn eliminating the hard-luck Rain or Shine Elasto Painters off a fourth-quarter pullaway, 113-97, at the PhilSports Arena on Saturday, March 4.
Import Kevin Murphy found no answer from import-less Rain or Shine as he exploded for a 10-of-12 three-point barrage on the way to 39 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists for the Batang Pier, who rose to a 3-7 record.
Former San Miguel reserve Paul Zamar continued to earn his stripes as a NorthPort key cog with 20 points, 5 boards, and 3 dimes with no turnovers, while recovering veteran Arwind Santos had his best game of the conference with 10 points in 16 minutes off the bench.
Despite Rain or Shine running without an import after back-to-back signing mishaps, the Painters hung tough in a nip-and-tuck affair to enter the fourth quarter just down 3, 77-80.
However, a Murphy trey and 7 straight Zamar points sparked a 10-2 rally to put NorthPort up 11, 90-79, with 10 minutes to play, which Rain or Shine never recovered from.
The Painters only got as near as 9, 83-92, with around 9 minutes left to play before the Batang Pier sealed the deal with a separate 10-2 run, ending with a Murphy step-back three for a 17-point peak, 102-85, with 6:01 left in regulation.
Santi Santillan led the valiant all-Filipino Rain or Shine effort with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Anton Asistio and Nick Demusis each scored 14 off the bench on the way down to a 2-8 slate.
NorthPort takes an 11-day breather as it prepares for an upset effort of league-leading TNT on Wednesday, March 15, 3 pm, still at the PhilSports Arena.
Rain or Shine gets an even longer 13-day break, returning to play for pride against No. 2 ranked San Miguel on Friday, March 17, 3 pm, also at PhilSports.
NorthPort 113 – Murphy 39, Zamar 20, Bolick 11, Calma 11, Santos 10, Chan 8, Salado 5, Taha 2, Balagasay 2, Munzon 2, Ayaay 0.
Rain or Shine 97 – Santillan 17, Asistio 14, Demusis 14, Mamuyac 12, Caracut 8, Norwood 7, Borboran 7, Nambatac 5, Torres 5, Belga 5, Ponferrada 1, Ildefonso 0, Clarito 0.
Quarters: 28-23, 53-52, 80-77, 113-97.
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