by Jonas Terrado
NorthPort slipped past Columbian, 110-108, on a goaltending violation in the final seconds to closed in on a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Referees ruled Batang Pier rookie Robert Bolick’s missed layup after a video review as a made basket when Dyip import Lester Prosper touched the rim while trying to block the shot with 2.8 seconds left and the game evened at 108-all.
League rules state that a goaltending will be called if a defender hits the ring while the ball has a chance to go in.
Eric Camson tried to force overtime on the final play but his contested jumper bounced off twice as time expired.
The Batang Pier improved to 8-2, needing one win or a loss by Magnolia in its final four games to clinch the quarterfinal bonus in the midseason conference.
Coach Pido Jarencio’s crew also bounced back from a 97-87 loss to Phoenix Pulse last week.
Nico Elorde provided a big spark for NorthPort in the final minutes in his return from a hamstring problem, hitting three consecutive triples to put the Batang Pier in front, 108-103, with over two minutes to go.
But the Dyip came back to score five straight points, ending on a CJ Perez tip-in with 7.8 remaining for a 108-all deadlock.
Mo Tautuaa had 23 points and six rebounds, Bolick and Kevin Ferrer scored 21 points each, import Prince Ibeh posted 17 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks and Elorde had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for NorthPort.
Import Lester Prosper produced 36 points and 17 rebounds but the Dyip couldn’t produce a follow-up to their 134-132 overtime win over the San Miguel Beermen and dropped to 2-7.
Perez added 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Columbian, which is virtually out of playoff contention with the loss.
NorthPort 110 – Tautuaa 23, Bolick 21, Ferrer 21, Ibeh 17, Elorde 14, Mercado 7, Cruz 4, Lanete 2, Arana 1, Flores 0.
Columbian 108 – Prosper 36, Perez 29, McCarthy 16, Agovida 8, Khobuntin 6, Camson 5, Escoto 4, Cahilig 0, Gabriel 0, Faundo 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21, 52-50, 82-81, 110-108