MANILA – NorthPort Batang Pier easily rolls past import-less Blackwater Elite, 127-99, to move to a share of top spot in the 2019 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Kevin Ferrer came alive in the fourth quarter to finish with 23 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds, while Sean Anthony had double-double 22 points and 11 boards for the 7-1 Batang Pier.
Rookie Robert Bolick fell short of a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Batang Pier newcomers Jervy Cruz and Solomon Mercado were also productive with 16 and 14, respectively.
The Elite started strong as it surged to an early 14-8 lead but the Batang Pier got consecutive points from Juan Paolo Taha for a 19-14 edge. Blackwater was able to tie it at 19-all but hits from Taha and Cruz gave NorthPort a 29-21 advantage.
The Batang Pier saw its edge cut to 34-39 at the onset of the second period but was quick to restore order as baskets from Anthony, Cruz and Ferrer gave them a 54-39 halftime lead.
NorthPort pulled away for good in the second half with Mercado, Cruz and Ferrer finding their shooting touch from inside and outside as the lead reached its largest at 36 points in the fourth.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr. finished with double-double 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Rabeh Al-Hussini contributed 16 markers for the Elite, which suffered its second straight loss to drop to 4-3.
The Elite was once again forced to play all-Filipino against the Batang Pier after opting not to field in their replacement import Jameel McKay, who arrived in the country just last Friday.
In the second game, Magnolia Hotshots continued its late uprising in the second conference as it topple the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 99-96.
Paul Lee torched the opposition with 27 points, while import James Farr added 26 markers as the Hotshots climbs to 3-2. Richard Howell had 36 markers to lead the Fuel Masters (2-4)./PN