Arvin Tolentino’s clutch performance in the closing minutes propelled NorthPort to a hard-fought 104-100 victory over Terrafirma in the PBA On Tour at the Ynares Arena in Pasig on Sunday.
Tolentino bounced back spectacularly after a lackluster outing in their previous game. He led the Batang Pier with an impressive 28 points and nine rebounds, including seven crucial points in the last 1:35 of the game. His scoring spree helped NorthPort overcome a 97-99 deficit and secure the win.
The victory was a much-needed boost for NorthPort, who improved their record to an even 4-4 after enduring a two-game losing streak, including a disappointing 87-95 loss to NLEX, where Tolentino only managed to contribute nine points.
“Coming from two losses, that’s what coach Bonnie Tan emphasized in our past practices – that we need to tighten our defense,” said the 27-year-old forward, who previously won two titles with Barangay Ginebra. “As a leader on the team, I need to lead by example.”
Paul Zamar also delivered an impressive performance for NorthPort, contributing 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists. JM Calma provided valuable support with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Joshua Munzon added 14 points after a lackluster performance against NLEX, where he scored only six points.
Despite the loss, Terrafirma showcased their resilience, battling back from a 17-point deficit to make it a tight contest. The Dyip often struggled to mount a comeback in previous games after falling behind, but their gritty performance demonstrated a positive change.
Juami Tiongson led Terrafirma in scoring with 25 points, while Javi Gomez de Liano added 19 points and eight rebounds. Jelo Alolino contributed 16 markers, and Isaac Go, and Aldrech Ramos both chipped in 11 points.
Terrafirma briefly held a 99-97 edge thanks to the contributions of Alolino, Gomez de Liano, and Go, but Tolentino and his teammates responded with determination. Tolentino’s leadership and clutch plays, combined with significant contributions from Zamar and Arwind Santos, fueled an 8-0 run that secured the victory for NorthPort.
In the game’s earlier stages, Calma carried the team, scoring 10 points in the third quarter to help NorthPort establish a comfortable lead. Terrafirma fought back with a spirited effort, but NorthPort’s resilience and late-game heroics proved too much to handle.
The win provides a much-needed boost for NorthPort, while Terrafirma will look to regroup after suffering their third consecutive loss. The preseason series, presented by Arena Puls and sponsored by Bingo Plus, continues to showcase exciting basketball action, and fans can look forward to more thrilling matchups in the coming games.
NorthPort 104 – Tolentino 28, Zamar 21, Calma 18, Munzon 14, Santos 8, Ayaay 6, Salado 4, Yu 3, Gabriel 2, Balagasay 0, Sobrevega 0, Bauzon 0.
Terrafirma 100 – Tiongson 25, Gomez de Liano 19, Alolino 16, Ramos 11, Go 11, Mina 9, Daquioag 4, Cahilig 3, Calvo 2, Grospe 0.
Quarters: 30-18; 52-43; 83-76; 104-100.