Nico Elorde shone in a late rally by the Batang Pier, escaping a well-played ballgame against the Columbian Dyip. Dennis Acosta
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
MANILA - The NorthPort Batang Pier bounced back from a tough loss the last time out as they defeated the Columbian Dyip, 110-108, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday night.
Point guard Nico Elorde, coming back from an injury, led his team to their 8th win in 10 games, securing themselves a Top 6 finish heading to the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs and evading a quarterfinal disadvantage.
He finished with 14 points alongside 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The win also dented the hopes of the Dyip to still make the playoffs as they slid down to 2 wins and 7 losses.
Columbian and NorthPort battled through countless lead changes from the start of the game up until the final buzzer.
But the game's turning point was during the final two minutes of the ball game, when Elorde scored three triples to keep the Batang Pier's advantage safe.
However, CJ Perez was able to fire back a triple after Elorde's first shot that kept the game close between both sides.
Rashawn McCarthy was able to cut NorthPort's advantage to only 2 points; 108-106 through his own share of a triple with only 48 seconds left in the game.
Perez stopped the time by giving up a foul on Prince Ibeh to send him on the free throw line, only to miss his chance of extending the lead of the Batang Pier.
At the return of play, Perez was able to tie the ball game at 108-all with only 10 seconds left to play.
With a threat of a possible overtime, NorthPort called their last time out to regroup.
Feeling the pressure and the will to end the game at regulation, Batang Pier turned to Robert Bolick for a driving lay-up with only 2.8 seconds left to play.
Bolick's attempt was a miss, but it was caught in the review that Lester Prosper's hand was on the rim the moment the Batang Pier guard took the shot which made it a legitimate goaltending violation.
The basket was counted for NorthPort which put the dagger to Columbian.
Columbian tried to regroup and set up a play for Prosper as their last attempt to take the game into overtime.
However, time was not on their side and Eric Camson's jump shot was a miss.
"Wala e, puso na talaga [gumana] dun sa last 2 minutes," says Elorde after the game.
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