NorthPort ends slump; ‘can’t lose all the time,’ says Jarencio
MANILA, Philippines–NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio knew of the perils of staying winless in the PBA Governors’ Cup, so he had a simple pep talk for his charges on Thursday: “This is the time to start winning.”
And the Batang Pier responded, bucking a lethargic first half and then hammering out a 109-98 victory over Meralco at Smart Araneta Coliseum, finally arresting their dry spell that had dragged on for five games.
“Perhaps it’s just the law of averages, don’t you think? You can’t actually lose all the time. There’s a point where things are just better,” said Jarencio
It was indeed that night for NorthPort as it drew solid numbers from both its main guys and its prospects.
Jamel Artis played splendidly with 26 points and eight rebounds backstopping Robert Bolick’s all-around performance of 22 points, seven boards, six assists and three steals.
Arwind Santos poured most of his 16 points in the final two frames to help keep the Bolts at arms length the rest of the way.
“Our 0-5 record had been filled with heartbreaking losses … Somehow, the team is beginning to look like it’s settling, including our import,” said Jarencio, who visibly reveled in his first postgame presser in a long while.
The Batang Pier trailed by as many as 19 points in the first quarter and then managed to enjoy leads as big as 20, also thanks to Jamie Malonzo’s 14 points, Jerrick Balanza’s 12 and Troy Rike’s 10.
“When we switched to man-to-man defense, that’s when the players got aggressive. They put a lot of energy on defense, and then the game’s tempo changed. We caught up,” Jarencio said of the feisty third quarter where his charges wrested control, outscoring Meralco, 34-14.
“They looked like a very hungry team tonight,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose Bolts slid to 4-1. “They were quicker, faster than we were tonight and they made the shots. So we were definitely outplayed tonight.“