PBA: NorthPort stops import-less Converge
MANILA, Philipines–NorthPort halted the seven-game winning run of a Converge team that opted to sit out import Quincy Miller after prevailing 112-97 in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rookie William Navarro scored a career-high 29 points while adding 17 rebounds and nine assists as the Batang Pier won for the third game in a row and stayed in fifth place at 6-5 to boost their chances of securing a spot in the quarterfinals.
Robert Bolick, import Prince Ibeh and Arvin Tolentino also stepped up for NorthPort as it capitalized on the absence of Miller, who was on the bench but was not fielded by Converge coach Aldin Ayo.
No one from Converge has explained the reason for Miller’s benching as of posting time.
“We were expecting to see them in full force,” said Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio in Filipino. “I’m not sure what went wrong, but [Converge’s] situation became favorable for us.”
Converge dropped to solo third at 8-3 with the defeat, moving a game behind leader Bay Area (9-2) and a half-game below Magnolia (8-2) in the standings.
The FiberXers could fall to fourth if Barangay Ginebra goes on to beat TNT in the nightcap of the weekend doubleheader. The Gin Kings came into the contest carrying a 7-2 mark.
Bolick had 26 points, six rebounds and 10 assists, Ibeh benefited the most in Miller’s absence and produced 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks while Tolentino added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Aljun Melecio led all scorers for the losing Converge side with 20 points.
NORTHPORT 112 — Navarro 29, Bolick 26, Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Sumang 9, Balanza 7, Ferrer 4, Ayaay 2, Chan 1, Caperal 0, Calma 0.
CONVERGE 97 — Melecio 20, Teng 14, Ahanmisi 11, Ilagan 11, Tratter 9, Stockton 8, Arana 8, Browne 6, Racal 6, DiGregorio 2, Bulanadi 2, Ambohot 0.
Quarters: 28-18, 52-49, 88-73, 112-97.