MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort survived a valiant stand from import-less NLEX to remain unbeaten in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup following an 83-79 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, May 25.
Sean Anthony delivered when it mattered most by scoring the last 4 points as the Batang Pier improved to 2-0 and handed the Road Warriors their second loss in as many games.
With the score knotted at 79-all, Anthony gave NorthPort the lead with a putback off a Robert Bolick miss before icing the free throws that put the nail in the coffin.
NLEX earlier had a chance to turn the tides after the Anthony putback but Marion Magat airballed his three-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Both coming off the bench, Anthony and Bolick provided the spark by finishing with 17 and 18 points, respectively, and hauling down 6 rebounds each.
Prince Ibeh starred on both ends of the floor in the win with 15 points, 19 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 2 steals, while Mo Tautuaa and Paolo Taha added 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Although the Road Warriors missed the services of import Tony Mitchell – whose documentation has yet to be completed – the Batang Pier had trouble pulling away no thanks to their horrendous free throw shooting.
NorthPort attempted 34 foul shots and made only 15 of them for a dismal 44%.
Kenneth Ighalo paced NLEX with 18 points and 4 rebounds, Poy Erram had 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Bong Galanza added 11 points in the losing effort.
NorthPort 83 – Bolick 18, Anthony 17, Ibeh 15, Tautuaa 14, Taha 10, Elorde 6, Grey 3, Lanete 0, Gabayni 0.
NLEX 79 – Ighalo 18, Soyud 12, Galanza 11, Erram 10, Fonacier 7, Tiongson 6, Paniamogan 5, Magat 4, Paredes 2, Baguio 2, Lao 2, Taulava 0, Rios 0, Tallo 0.
Quarters: 18-25, 35-43, 59-57, 83-79.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.