MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort averted a monumental meltdown and escaped with a 99-94 win over Rain or Shine in its 2019 PBA Governors' Cup opener at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, September 20.
Robert Bolick delivered 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and knocked down the crucial foul shots in the dying seconds that saved the Batang Pier from wasting a lead that swelled to as large as 24 points.
The Elasto Painters trailed 87-97 with a minute left before unloading 7 unanswered points built on a James Yap triple, Joel Wright floater, and Ping Exciminiano layup to narrow the gap to 94-97 with 4 ticks left.
However, Bolick – who's coming off a commendable stint for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup – did not crack under pressure and coolly sank two free throws to seal the win for his side.
Import Mychal Ammons put up 25 points – including the three-point play that gave NorthPort a sizeable 70-46 lead – to go with 19 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks, while Kevin Ferrer added 12 points.
Garvo Lanete and Jerramy King each had 8 points in the win.
Rain or Shine, though, did not crumble in the face of its massive deficit thanks to Rey Nambatac pouring out 10 of his 19 points in the final period.
Nambatac, who also finished with 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, almost singlehandedly put his team back in the game by scoring 6 straight points that trimmed their deficit to 87-91 with less than 3 minutes remaining.
However, Ammons and Bolick conjoined for a 6-0 spurt to restore order for the Batang Pier – a run that proved the difference as the Elasto Painters fell short of their comeback attempt.
Wright paced Rain or Shine with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Yap and Beau Belga had 15 and 11 points, respectively. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.