by Jonas Terrado
NorthPort extended the best start in franchise history with seven players scoring in double figures after holding off Magnolia, 102-99, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sean Anthony topscored with 22 points, including four straight free throws in the final 9.3 seconds left that sealed the Batang Pier’s fifth win in six outings while tying the Blackwater Elite for the top spot.
Paolo Taha had 16 points, Mo Tautuaa and Jonathan Grey added 14 points apiece, Nico Elorde scored 12 and rookie Robert Bolick and import Prince Ibeh added 11 and 10 points.
Though flashing a wide grin over the latest win, coach Pido Jarencio was left worried over the injuries that continue to plague the team.
Ace guard Stanley Pringle missed his second straight game due to a nagging problem on his right foot while Tautuaa hurt his knee and Elorde pulled his hamstring in the second half.
“The good thing is that the momentum is on our side,” said Jarencio.
Magnolia dropped to 0-2, spoiling the debut of new import James Farr who struggled with 11 points on a dismal 5-of-26 shooting.
In the second game, Roger Pogoy hit a career-high 38 points on 10 three-pointers as TNT KaTropa stunned defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 104-96, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pogoy became the fourth local to hit at least 10 triples in a game, helping the KaTropa complete a stirring comeback from a 10-point deficit on their way to creating a three-way tie for the lead at 5-1 with Blackwater and NorthPort.
Allan Caidic, Kenneth Duremdes and Marcio Lassiter were the other locals who fired at least 10 in a game.
The national team mainstay set a franchise record for most threes by a local, breaking the old mark of nine by current teammate Jayson Castro.
He was also one shy of the overall TNT record of 11 held by import Jerod Ward during his 61-point explosion in the 2001 Commissioner’s Cup.
Import Terrence Jones was held to 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting but had 14 rebounds, 16 assists and six blocks for TNT.
Ginebra absorbed its second straight loss to fall at 2-3 despite 29 points and 17 rebounds from import Justin Brownlee.