Vic Manuel Vic Manuel of Phoenix looks to score against Troy Rike and Kevin Ferrer of NorthPort. PBA photo

NorthPort back in the groove

July 21, 2021 Ed Andaya 536 views

FORGET about NorthPort’s Friday the 16th debacle in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.

The Batang Pier are back in style.

Robert Bolick finished with 20 points and 11 assists as the Batang Pier rebounded from a disastrous 63-85 setback to Meralco by whipping Phoenix Super LPG, 115-79, for their first win in the season-opening conference.

The whopping 36-point victory by NorthPort was enough to put the smile back on coach Pido Jarencio’s face following the 22-point drubbing from the Bolts on opening-day Friday.

.Bolick, who looked fit as a fiddle after missing last year’s Philippine Cup bubble in Clark due to partial ACL tear, was back in his usual devastating form for the Batang Pier.

Rookie Troy Rike and Kevin Ferrer ably supported Bolick with 20 points apiece, with the former US NCAA and UAAP prospect hitting 6-of-7 from downtown.

Rike nailed four straight triples in the payoff period that put Batang Pier way, way ahead at 97-65, with 8:15 remaining.

Even Sydney Onwubere, Paolo Taha and Jamie Malonzo stepped up for the Batang Pier, who missed the services of Greg Slaugter for the second straight game, and Sean Anthony due to a sore left ankle.

Onwubere and Malonzo added 15 points apiece and Taha contributed 12 for the Batang Pier, who led from start to finish.

Both Bolick and Jarencio said it was about their game finally coming together.

“Sabi nga ni coach Pido, hindi namin kaya kung offense-to-offense lang. Ngayon, talagang defense ang focus namin,” said Bolick, who added seven rebounds.

“Malaking disappointment yung first game namin. Lowest scoring and at the same time (shooting) percentage yata,” said Jarencio.

“So, we fixed one thing, defense. Actually, nagkaroon kami ng bull session. Nag-usap kami, sa depensa. Nag-concentrate kami talaga on defense. If we make stops then we can get our offense flowing.”

Vic Manuel scored a game-high 26 points for Phoenix, which went down to its second straight setback.

Matthew Wright added 15 points but made only four of his 15 shots from the field for the Fuel Masters, who debuted with a 70-83 defeat to Magnolia last Saturday.

Jason Perkins and Justin Chua contributed14 points on a combined 5-of-23 shooting.

The scores:

NorthPort (115) – Bolick 20, Rike 20, Ferrer 20, Onwubere 15, Malonzo 15, Taha 12, Elorde 6, Faundo 4, Balanza 3, Subido 0, Doliguez 0, Grey 0.
Phoenix (79) — Manuel 26, Wright 15, Perkins 12, Jazul 8, Garcia 6, Melecio 4, Demusis 2, Chua 2, Pascual 2, Rios 2, Faundo 0, Muyang 0, Calisaan 0, Napoles 0, Tamsi 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 50-31, 79-51, 115-79.

Games Friday;

(Ynares Sports Arena)
12:30 p.m — Rain or Shine vs. Terrafirma
3 p.m. – -Ginebra vs. Blackwater
6 p. m. — SanMiguel vs. NLEX