PBA Philippine Cup

No-quit NorthPort outlasts Converge in OT for breakthrough win

Martin Mendoza

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No-quit NorthPort outlasts Converge in OT for breakthrough win

BIG GAME. NorthPortu2019s Arvin Tolentino goes for a shot over Convergeu2019s Justin Arana in the PBA Philippine Cup.


NorthPort takes advantage of a careless Converge squad to complete a come-from-behind overtime win after trailing by 17 points early in the fourth quarter

MANILA, Philippines – It’s never over until it’s over for the NorthPort Batang Pier. 

Down by 17 points with nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, NorthPort took advantage of a careless Converge FiberXers squad and eked out a 112-104 overtime escape for its first win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, March 3. 

Arvin Tolentino showed the way for the Batang Pier with a near triple-double of 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Joshua Munzon got the job done on both ends with 17 markers, 6 boards, 6 steals, and 2 blocks.

“The players did not give up,” said NorthPort head coach Bonnie Tan of his wards.

“It was a collective effort on our team defense. We noticed that Converge doesn’t have a natural guard so we took advantage on the backcourt pressure.” 

With Converge threatening to pull away with an 84-67 lead, courtesy of a Mike Nieto layup, NorthPort came alive and went on a fiery 14-0 blast to cut the deficit to just 3, 81-84, with 6:30 left to play.

The Batang Pier eventually stole the lead from the reckless FiberXers, 93-91, off a Cade Flores layup at the 2:18 mark of the final frame, before both teams exchanged buckets in the crucial stages of the ball game.

Tied at 96-all after a clutch three by Converge guard Alec Stockton, Tolentino then had a golden opportunity to win it all for NorthPort in the final possession of the fourth quarter, but the Batang Pier star couldn’t connect on his potential game-winning triple.

In overtime, NorthPort easily pulled away from Converge as the FiberXers kept missing their shots, leading to wide-open baskets in transition for the Batang Pier.

Will Navarro had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Flores put up his own version of a double-double of 14 markers and 14 boards for NorthPort.

Stockton paced Converge with 27 points, while Justin Arana tallied 25 markers, along with 8 turnovers in the sorry loss.

Overall, Converge tallied 31 turnovers – 15 coming in the fourth quarter alone. 

The Batang Pier improved to a 1-1 slate, while the FiberXers fell to 0-2. 

The Scores

NorthPort 112 – Tolentino 31, Munzon 17, Navarro 16, Flores 14, Yu 8, Bulanadi 8, Calma 7, Zamar 5, Paraiso 3, Adamos 2, Taha 1, Rosales 0, Lucero 0, Chan 0.

Converge 104 – Stockton 27, Arana 25, Santos 11, Nieto 6, Ambohot 6, Fornilos 5, Winston 5, Caralipio 4, Delos Santos 3, Melecio 3, Zaldivar 3, Vigan-Fleming 2, Maagdenberg 2, Balanza 2. 

Quarters: 19-26, 42-53, 65-80, 96-96 (reg.), 112-104 (OT). 

– Rappler.com 

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