Rookie Robert Bolick stepped up in the absence of main gunner Stanley Pringle and powered the surging NorthPort Batang Pier to a 33-point rout, 121-88, of the still-out of sync San Miguel Beermen.
The newly-crowned Philippine Cup champions were able to keep in step with their opponents up until the end of the first period but started to taper off in the following quarter.
Come the 3rd, the Batang Pier pounced even harder on the debuting powerhouse team on their way to a 37-point quarter compared to just 22 for the Beermen.
It was all cruise control for the Batang Pier in the payoff period as the lead reached as much as 38 on the way to their 4th win in 5 starts and a share of top spot with idle Blackwater.
Aside from Pringle, NorthPort also missed big man Bradwyn Guinto and veteran Ryan Arana.
San Miguel, on the other hand, played without Chris Ross, Terrence Romeo and the suspended duo of Ronald Tubid and Kelly Nabong.
“Nasaktan ang team sa talo last time at talagang gustong bumawi. Nandyan na talaga ang character ng team,” said head coach Pido Jarencio on their bounce-back victory.
“Remember, this is an import-laden tournament. Pero naili-limit namin ang kalaban in the 80s,” he added.
Bolick paced NorthPort with 25 points while Prince Ibeh had 18.
Charles Rhodes led the way for the Beermen with 27 points while Philipine Cup Best Player June Mar Fajardo finished with 19.
NorthPort Batang Pier 121 – Bolick 25, Ibeh 18, Lanete 16, Grey 16, Tautuaa 11, Elorde 11, Anthony 10, Taha 9, Flores 3, Gabayni 2.
San Miguel Beermen 88 – Rhodes 27, Fajardo 19, Santos 11, Pessumal 11, Standhardinger 6, Cabagnot 5, Zamar 4, Vigil 3, Lassiter 2, Rosser 0, Mamaril 0.
Quarerscores: 25-25, 54-41, 91-63, 121-88.