PBA Philippine Cup

Out to ‘prove something,’ Tolentino, NorthPort extend winning streak

Delfin Dioquino

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Out to ‘prove something,’ Tolentino, NorthPort extend winning streak

STAR. Arvin Tolentino in action for the NorthPort Batang Pier in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Coming off a month-long layoff, Arvin Tolentino and NorthPort show no rust and flip the script on their more experienced foes, dealing TNT its most lopsided loss of the season

MANILA, Philippines – If there were still any doubts, NorthPort is here to compete.

Arvin Tolentino said the youthful Batang Pier are out to prove themselves as NorthPort claimed its fourth straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup after a 112-96 demolition of TNT at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, April 5.

Coming off a month-long layoff, the Batang Pier showed no rust and flipped the script on their more experienced foes, dealing the Tropang Giga – perennial contenders in the All-Filipino tiff – their most lopsided loss of the season.

“We’re a young team. We have a lot of young players in the team who are hungry and trying to prove something in this league,” said Tolentino in a mix of Filipino and English.

“That is the reason why we’re able to compete now – this team is trying to prove something.”

Heroes were aplenty as NorthPort extended its splendid run, but no one shone brighter than Tolentino, who finished with all-around numbers of 29 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in just almost 31 minutes of play.

Tolentino set the tone in the rout, scattering 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in the first two quarters alone to help the Batang Pier mount a commanding 61-34 lead.

He exploded for 13 points in the second period as he nearly matched the 16-point output of the entire TNT squad and gave his side its biggest lead at 66-34 when he knocked down a three-pointer early in the third frame.

“I just try to do the right things to set an example to these guys. I also encourage them to make sure that all us are confident coming to every practice and every game,” said Tolentino.

“My teammates have responded well.”

With Tolentino at the forefront of the NorthPort attack, the rest of the Batang Pier followed suit.

Sophomore big man JM Calma produced a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds, third-year guard Joshua Munzon chimed in 14 points with 2 steals, while rookie forward Cade Flores put up 9 points and 8 rebounds.

Four more players scored at least 5 points: Allyn Bulanadi (7), Zach Lucero (6), William Navarro (6), and Paolo Taha (5).

Roger Pogoy carried the fight for the Tropang Giga with 34 points off a 7-of-12 clip from beyond the arc, but their deficit proved too big to overcome.

Kim Aurin churned out 18 points off the bench, while Calvin Oftana tallied 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals for TNT, which slipped to 2-3.

The Scores

NorthPort 112 – Tolentino 29, Calma 22, Munzon 14, Flores 9, Bulanadi 7, Navarro 6, Lucero 6, Taha 5, Rosales 4, Amores 3, Paraiso 3, Adamos 2, Zamar 2, Yu 0, Cuntapay 0.

TNT 96 – Pogoy 34, Aurin 18, Oftana 13, Galinato 7, Montalbo 6, Khobuntin 5, B. Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Castro 4, Ponferrada 3, K.Williams 2, M.Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Reyes 0, Varilla 0, Heruela 0, Ebona 0.

Quarters: 32-18, 61-34, 85-57, 112-96.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.