Just getting there
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio was all smiles after the Batang Pier pulled out a gutsy 98-96 win over Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night that assured their march into the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
But he is also well aware that such a smile could wear off just as quick, with his charges up for a mammoth task.
“It’s nice that for the whole season, we’re in the quarterfinals,” Jarencio told reporters after getting 30 points and 13 rebounds from Michael Qualls and steady games from Sean Anthony and Christian Standhardinger.
“But it’s time to step up,” he said. “It’s time for the semis. That’s the [new] goal of the team.”
Anthony had 18 points while Standhardinger 17 and 11 rebounds as the Batang Pier wound up with a 5-6 record for seventh spot and the right to face the No. 2 team but needing to beat that squad twice to make the Final Four.
NorthPort’s win also put to naught an 83-81 win Rain or Shine pulled out over Meralco earlier in the night, as the Elasto Painters still got the boot after closing out with a 4-7 record.
Justin Brownlee had 31 points for the crowd favorites, while three locals tossed in 14 or more as the Gin Kings slipped to 7-4.
“A win is a win, whether it be by one, two, or three points,” Jarencio said. “Now, we just have to be ready for the twice-to-beat [opponent].”
That foe could either be the retooled Bolts or Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer, which is reportedly repairing a rift among import Dez Wells and some of its locals.
That quarterfinal matchup will be finalized this Wednesday when NLEX takes on Alaska and San Miguel battles TNT at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Sources on Sunday said that Wells got into a fight with Arwind Santos and Ronald Tubid during practice, an incident that also included Kelly Nabong, who reportedly came to Wells’ rescue.
Wells, the most impressive among the imports, has been in and out of the San Miguel lineup reportedly because of an injury, but this latest development seems to belie that.
Commissioner Willie Marcial told scribes before Sunday night’s games that the league is going to look into the incident and will come up with the appropriate actions.
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