May 20, 2024

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Arvin Tolentino’s clutch heroics propel NorthPort vs Blackwater via 115-113 win

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CLUTCH HEROICS. Arvin Tolentino propels NorthPort’s 115-113 victory over Blackwater with his late-game heroics in the PBA Philippine Cup matchup at the Caloocan Sports Complex on Saturday, April 27. PBA PHOTO

Arvin Tolentino’s clutch performance lifted NorthPort back into contention for a playoff spot in the PBA Philippine Cup, as the Batang Pier edged past Blackwater, 115-113, in a thrilling matchup at the Caloocan Sports Complex on Saturday, April 27.

Tolentino took charge in the game’s final moments, scoring the last eight crucial points for NorthPort. His side-stepping jumper against Christian David with 7.8 seconds left gave the Batang Pier the go-ahead basket. Tolentino then secured the game by grabbing the defensive rebound off Rey Nambatac’s missed three-pointer as time expired.

This victory snapped NorthPort’s five-game losing streak and solidified their position with a 5-6 record at the end of the elimination round, making them the eighth team to secure at least five wins. The Batang Pier now eagerly awaits the results of other games that will determine their playoff fate among the top eight teams.

The ripple effects of NorthPort’s win affected other teams in the standings. The Barangay Ginebra Kings (6-3) secured automatic entry into the quarterfinals regardless of their game outcome against Converge, while Phoenix Super LPG (3-7) was eliminated from playoff contention as their best possible finish is four wins.

Despite the loss, Blackwater (3-6) still has a chance to vie for a playoff spot by winning their upcoming games against San Miguel Beer and Phoenix.

NorthPort’s comeback victory was fueled by Tolentino’s standout performance, finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. He received solid support from teammates Joshua Munzon (16 points, five rebounds, six assists), rookie Damie Cuntapay (15 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting), and Zav Lucero (14 points, seven rebounds, four assists).

Troy Rosario’s personal season-high 33 points for NorthPort, despite sustaining a cut on his right eyebrow early in the game, also played a significant role in their success. On the Blackwater side, Christian David recorded career-highs in points (26) and rebounds (15), achieving his second career double-double, while Justin Chua contributed 11 points and seven rebounds in one of his best performances for the team.

NorthPort’s resilience and Tolentino’s heroics have rejuvenated their playoff hopes, setting the stage for an intense battle for survival as they await their fate in the upcoming playoff rounds.

The scores:

Northport 115 – Tolentino 27, Munzon 16, Cuntapay 15, Lucero 14, Yu 11, Rosales 7, Chan 7, Flores 6, Zamar 5, Navarro 5, Bulanadi 2.

Blackwater 113 – Rosario 33, David 26, Chua 11, Nambatac 10, Casio 9, Kwekuteye 7, Hill 5, Suerte 5, Guinto 4, Ilagan 3, Sena 0, Escoto 0, Jopia 0, Tungcab 0.

Quarterscores: 32-30; 66-48; 88-81; 115-113.

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