A first look at NorthPort’s post-Stanley Pringle era proved to be pleasing indeed.
Not even manpower problems that reduced them to eight men and a 25-point deficit would keep the Batang Pier from snatching a 107-105 overtime victory over Rain or Shine Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Mo Tautuaa scored a new career-high 34 points while Robert Bolick, Sean Anthony and Garvo Lanete also had their moments for NorthPort as it officially played for the first time in five years without Pringle, traded just last Tuesday to Barangay Ginebra.
“Sobrang excited ako nanalo kami ngayon,” gushed Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio, who had to make do with just eight players and yet steered his team to a third straight win, improved to a 6-1 record overall and grabbed a share of the lead with TNT.
“Mantakin mo, 6-1 kami ngayon, lumaban pa rin kahit walo lang players mo. Nakita mo potential ng team, nandiyan lumalaban. Nandito sila dahil trabaho nila ito, Focus nila, goal namin, every game manalo. Laban pa rin iyan.”
Pringle surreptitiously watched the game from the stands, making Jarencio beam even more. “Puso noon nasa amin pa rin,” he said. “Mahal na mahal din kami noon.”
NorthPort 107 – Tautuaa 34, Bolick 22, Lanete 16, Anthony 14, Taha 12, Ibeh 9, Arana 0, Gabayni 0.
Rain or Shine 105 – Bowles 41, Mocon 16, Daquioag 12, Nambatac 11, Rosales 10, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Ponferada 2, Borboran 2, Torres 2, Alejandro 0.
Quarterscores: 17-25, 40-49, 63-84, 100-100, 107-105.