by Jonas Terrado
Games Tomorrow (Calasiao, Pangasinan)
4:30 p.m. – Skills Competitions
7 p.m. – Rookies/Sophomores vs Jrs
NorthPort survived Alaska’s fourth quarter uprising with a furious finish to prevail, 94-84, and remain in contention for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony joined forces during the crucial stretch as the Batang Pier overcame losing a 14-point lead in the third and trailing three early in the fourth to move inside the top eight with a 4-6 record.
“Sean and Stanley really took charge in the second half, but in reality it was a total team effort,” said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, whose team was on the brink of elimination before stunning TNT KaTropa with a convincing 109-83 rout last Sunday.
Anthony finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds and Pringle scored 21 points to put NorthPort’s fortunes on their hands, needing to beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on April 3 to clinch a quarters berth.
Jarencio welcomed the long break due to this weekend’s All-Star festivities in Calasiao, Pangasinan, adding that it will help his players recharge their batteries before the crucial duel with Ginebra.
While the Batang Pier are enjoying some sense of comfort, the Aces are perhaps feeling as if they’re staring at an early exit after back-to-back losses.
Alaska finished the elims at 4-7, tied with Columbian and possibly Meralco if it beat Ginebra in the second game.
Columbian and Meralco were already eliminated from the playoff race due to inferior quotients.
The Aces will now have to rely on the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok to beat the NLEX Road Warriors on April 3 to arrange a playoff for the eighth and final quarters spot.
Carl Bryan Cruz finished with 23 points for the Aces in a losing effort.
NORTHPORT 94 – Anthony 24, Pringle 21, Tautuaa 14, Grey 13, Flores 6, Taha 6, Bolick 3, Guinto 3, Elorde 2, Sollano 2, Lanete 0.
ALASKA 84 – Cruz 23, Thoss 14, Enciso 11, Banchero 8, Pascual 8, Ayaay 6, Casio 5, Baclao 3, Teng 2, Galliguez 2, Racal 2, Exciminiano 0.
Quarters: 16-19, 40-37, 71-60, 94-84.