PBA: NorthPort grabs 5th spot as Ginebra stays alive in playoff bid
MANILA, Philippines—NorthPort locked up the fifth seed with a strong 122-94 win over Alaska at the end of the elimination round of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Thursday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Batang Pier are headed to the playoffs with a 6-5 record and will face San Miguel, the no.4 team with a 7-4 slate, in a best-of-three showdown.
NorthPort also gave Barangay Ginebra a lifeline as the defending champion, which lost to Meralco 79-66 earlier in the day, will now play Phoenix for the last spot in the next round.
With a looming series against San Miguel, Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio said their dominant victory against the Aces kickstart their bid to build a winning culture within the franchise.
“It started in this game, this is the start to build a winning culture for this team,” said Jarencio. “Against the mighty San Miguel team, we’re ready. The players are ready, we are healthy going to the playoffs, and their mindset is ready.”
NorthPort wasted little time in creating distance between itself and Alaska with Jamie Malonzo converting on a layup to cap off a quick 10-0 run that gave the Batang Pier a 56-38 lead with 3:16 left in the first half.
Despite outscoring the opposition 35-33 in the third quarter, the Aces could not muster enough defense to put the clamps on NorthPort which continued to run circles around them in the fourth.
Renzo Subido knocked down a triple to push Batang Pier’s lead to 120-91 with 1:52 to play.
Robert Bolick led NorthPort with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists while Malonzo added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
Jeron Teng had 18 points, six rebounds, and three steals to lead the Aces who ended their elimination round campaign at 11th with a 3-8 record.