NorthPort beats Blackwater for solo 5th in Commissioner’s Cup

ARWIN SANTOS (29) plays clutch to lift NorthPort. — PBA MEDIA

Games Tomorrow(Smart Araneta Coliseum)3 p.m. — Blackwater vs Terrafirma5:45 p.m. — Phoenix vs Barangay Ginebra

ARVIN Tolentino and Arwind Santos played clutch to lift slow-starting NorthPort past Blackwater, 87-83, for solo fifth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mr. Tolentino fired 10 points in stretch while Mr. Santos delivered crucial jumpers, defensive rebounds and assists as the Batang Pier ultimately wrested control after trailing most of the way using a 23-15 closeout.

A trade acquisition from Ginebra, Mr. Tolentino tallied 15 to backstop import Prince Ibeh’s 19-point, 10-rebound, two-steal, two-block statline in the bounceback victory to their 117-93 setback to TNT last time.

In his best outing this conference, Mr. Santos shot 14 to with 10 boards, two dimes and two steals while Jerick Balanza made 13 to ease the burden on Robert Bolick (12).

Fresh from their morale-boosting 109-106 upset of San Miguel Beer, the Bossing opened the game with eight unanswered points and made the Batang Pier play catch-up most of the way.

After restart, the Batang Pier outscored the Bossing, 50-41, while winning the battle in rebounding, 26-20, assists, 15-9, steals, 5-3, and blocks, 3-0.

Blackwater was still up, 79-75, before Messrs. Tolentino and Santos ignited the decisive blast that put NorthPort in front, 85-81.

Cameron Krutwig pulled the Bossing within two with two seconds to go. Outwitting a Blackwater team intending to foul and stop the clock, Mr. Santos hurled a pinpoint outlet pass to Mr. Balanza at the frontcourt for an unmolested layup at the buzzer.

Krutwig showed the way with 28-17 for Blackwater (2-3), which fell out of the Magic 8 at ninth. Troy Rosario, with 17, and Baser Amer, with 16, were the only other Bossing players in double digits. — Olmin Leyba

The Scores:

NorthPort 87 — Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Santos 14, Balanza 13, Bolick 12, Ferrer 7, Taha 3, Caperal 2, Chan 2, Salado 0, Sumang 0,

Blackwater 83 — Krutwig 28, Rosario 17, Amer 16, Ular 8, Ayonayon 7, Suerte 4, Taha 2, Banal 1, Ebona 0, McCarthy 0, Jackson 0.

Quarterscores: 16-22, 37-42, 64-68, 87-83.