|Sean Anthony displayed brilliance for the Batang Pier. Jade Moya|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
QUEZON CITY - It didn't seem as if NorthPort are undermanned and hounded with injuries as they picked up their 5th win in 6 games in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, this time at the expense of Magnolia Hotshots, 102-99, on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Using only 9 players on his current 10-men pool, Coach Pido Jarencio attributed the win to the effort of the team in sealing off the win.
"It was a total team effort. Masaya ako dahil lahat tumutulong. They are doing their share," said NorthPort Coach Pido Jarencio
Magnolia started out strong, even holding NorthPort scoreless in the first three minutes of the game, leading by as much of 7.
"This is what we want. We had a good start but problem is hindi namin na-sustain," said Magnolia Coach Chito Victolero
NorthPort slowly tried to come close against Magnolia and attempted to counter every attack that they take.
However, Magnolia still ended up leading by 7 at the end of the 1st quarter, 23-16.
Come the second period, Paul Lee brought in back to back baskets, one of which is a triple which gave the Hotshots a 10-point edge, 28-18.
Garvo Lanete was quick to respond, firing a triple to cut the lead to only 5 points, 28-23.
Tautuaa's efforts in cutting the lead off to just two points by picking up a missed field goal by Nico Elorde set the pace for the Batang Pier to rally against the Hotshots and eventually take the lead.
Jonathan Grey sealed off the second quarter with a triple that sank in with 21 seconds left to play, handing NorthPort a 5-point lead, 48-43, at halftime.
Ian Sangalang opened the scoring for the third quarter but Grey brought in back to back baskets, one of which is a triple that paved way for NorthPort to extend their lead further to 8; 53-45 with 10:46 on the clock.
Grey then found a loophole in the Magnolia offense and took advantage of stealing the possession to find an open Robert Bolick who scores another triple for North Port to tally in a 57-45 edge.
Third quarter eventually sealed off with the Batang Pier holding an 8-point lead, 70-62.
The Hotshots seemingly panicked and their defense scattered, allowing the Batang Pier to score five points against them to further extend the lead to a high of 13 points, 75-62, to start the 4th quarter.
Magnolia again tried to create counter attacks to cut down the edge of North Port against them with back-to-back baskets coming from Robbie Herndon and Mark Barroca sinking in a triple.
But North Port is all willing to give them an upset, attacking the Hotshots all the more when they try to cut their edge.
Paul Lee and the rest of the Hotshots would never want to collapse before the two minute mark.
Lee intercepted a pass by Grey to find Barroca open beyond the arc for a triple, cutting the lead to 7, 93-86.
Lee figured in the last 3 sequences of Magnolia by fishing a foul from Taha and completing two bonus shots, scoring a triple and finding Sangalang to tally an assist.
Magnolia got a boost to its comeback bid as Prince Ibeh fouled out of the ball game with 35 seconds left to play.
Melton was able to convert 2 points out of his trip to the free throw line, allowing Magnolia to come in closer to their opponents, 98-95.
Fouls and trips to the free throw line had been a dagger for Magnolia as NorthPort was able to deliver on these sequences as the clock keeps on ticking.
Sean Anthony was named as the best player of the game, garnering 22 points and 5 steals.
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