July 12, 2024

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Rookie Cade Flores stars in NorthPort’s 124-120 win over Phoenix Super LPG

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ROOKIE SHINES. Filipino-American Cade Flores puts up a stellar performance as NorthPort outlasts Phoenix Super LPG, 124-120, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 8. PBA PHOTO

Rookie Cade Flores delivered a stellar performance, leading NorthPort to a hard-fought 124-120 victory over Phoenix Super LPG in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 8.

Flores, the Fil-Am rookie, had a point to prove after being snubbed by fans in the All-Star Weekend voting for the Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors squads set for March 22-24 in Bacolod. The setback only fueled his determination, pushing him to showcase his skills on the court.

The rookie exploded for a career-high 21 points and grabbed an impressive 12 rebounds. Ten of his points came in the crucial fourth period, aiding NorthPort in maintaining control of the game. Despite fouling out with 1:03 left on the clock, Flores had already made a significant impact.

Fran Yu, Arvin Tolentino, and Zavier Lucero stepped up in Flores’ absence, providing crucial points in the final minutes to secure NorthPort’s second straight win in three games.

Lucero, who bounced back from the effects of jetlag, contributed 18 points, playing a pivotal role off the bench. The Batang Pier’s reserves dominated with an 88-49 advantage in bench points, a factor that greatly influenced the outcome.

Coach Bonnie Tan expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance, highlighting the spread-out scoring and the luxury of having multiple players capable of delivering in critical moments. 

Joshua Munzon contributed 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, and five steals, while Arvin Tolentino added 15 points and nine boards despite foul trouble.

Despite a sluggish start, Jason Perkins led Phoenix with a game-high 28 points. Tyler Tio contributed 19 points before exiting the game at the 5:03 mark due to a sprained left ankle. Skipper RJ Jazul added 15 points, Ricci Rivero had 13, and Kenneth Tuffin added 11.

Phoenix mounted a comeback, erasing a 47-61 deficit and briefly taking the lead at 111-110. However, Fran Yu’s five-point run, coupled with a crucial steal and an assist to Lucero, swung the momentum back in NorthPort’s favor, securing the 117-113 lead.

Despite the late scare from Phoenix, NorthPort held firm, showcasing resilience and teamwork in a closely contested battle. The victory marks another positive stride for NorthPort in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The boxscores:

NorthPort 124 – Flores 21, Lucero 18, Munzon 17, Tolentino 15, Yu 13, Zazmar 11, Bulanadi 6, Calma 2, Rosales 2, Paraiso 2,8Adamos 0, Amores 0, Cuntapay 0.

Phoenix 120 – Perkins 24, Tio 19, Jazul 15, Rivero 13, Tuffin 11, Manganti 9, Mocon 8, Soyud 4, Daves 4, Alejandro 3, Muyang 2, Garcia 2, Camacho 2, Lalata 0, Verano 0.

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