Batang Pier snag quarters berth with rout of listless Bossing | Inquirer Sports

Batang Pier snag quarters berth with rout of listless Bossing

/ 05:15 AM January 06, 2024

Northport Batang Pier's Jeff Chan in a PBA Commissioner's Cup game.

Northport Batang Pier’s Jeff Chan in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game. –MARLO CUETO/

Joshua Munzon seems to have found his niche as a key defensive cog for NorthPort in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Becoming the top overall pick in 2021 mainly because of being a capable scorer, Munzon’s defensive play is one of the reasons why the Batang Pier punched a ticket as the sixth quarterfinalist in the Commissioner’s Cup on Friday.


“I just want to show how I can play defense,” said Munzon, whose four steals that backed up his team-high 20 points propelled the Batang Pier to a 106-89 win over the Blackwater Bossing at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


It was the sixth win in 10 games for NorthPort, which kept a slim chance at snagging one of the three remaining twice-to-beat slots in the playoffs.

To keep that opportunity intact, the Batang Pier must post an upset over Barangay Ginebra on Sunday at the same venue, or otherwise be put in a twice-to-win disadvantage.

“If we want to be in a position to face the beatable teams [in the quarters], we have to win the game on Sunday,” said coach Bonnie Tan.

Tan and the Batang Pier will hope that Munzon will keep his stellar play, something that league followers have not seen since he was drafted by Terrafirma.

Munzon built a reputation as someone who can score at will in the Asean Basketball League and PBA D-League and was once the country’s top 3×3 player, but his Dyip stint was marred by inconsistencies and injuries before undergoing a tough transition period after being dealt to the Batang Pier at this time last year.

But things are now different for Munzon, whose offensive numbers improved from 8.3 points in last season’s Governors’ Cup to 12.4 points in this season-opening tournament. He also jumped to the top of the steals category with 2.4 per contest, his best production in any of his previous PBA conferences.


“I know a lot of people know I can play offense, but I guess my defense hasn’t been there yet,” said Munzon. “I think I wanted to put more importance on defense. I know in the past I can make steals, being a disruptor on defense and I wanted to show that I’m a pretty good defender out there.”

On offense, he accounted for three of NorthPort’s seven threes in the third period, which practically ended any hopes of a Blackwater comeback.

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Blackwater faded late in the second quarter and trailed, 45-35, at the half, eventually absorbing a ninth consecutive defeat after opening the season with a win over Converge.

TAGS: Batang Pier, Blackwater Bossing, Bossing, NorthPort, PBA

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