By JONAS TERRADO
Team manager Bonnie Tan looks to steer NorthPort to victory in its return against winless Blackwater Thursday, Sept. 9 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Tan will temporarily call the shots for the Batang Pier, beginning with the 4:35 p.m. match with the Bossing with coach Pido Jarencio and the rest of his staff still under quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols.
NorthPort is eager to come away victorious after being the only team that didn’t see action in the Philippine Cup resumption last week.
Hoping to start their Bacolor campaign on a bright note is Tan, who is no stranger to coaching.
He was the one manning the sidelines when Letran completed a Cinderella NCAA title run in 2019 at the expense of three-time defending champion San Beda.
The Batang Pier go hold a 1-3 record going into the contest, with two of those defeats coming in heartbreaking fashion against San Miguel (88-86) and Barangay Ginebra (87-85).
Against Ginebra last July 30, NorthPort saw its former player Christian Standhardinger convert the winning basket at the buzzer.
Terrafirma tries to continue its amazing winning run after a 0-4 start opposite Phoenix Super LPG in the 2 p.m. opener.
The Dyip won three in a row to open its Bacolor stint, with Juami Tiongson emerging as the team’s main cog and Cignal Play PBA Press Corps Player of the Week.
Phoenix is out for redemption after losing 94-76 to NLEX last Sept. 4 that dropped its record to 2-5.
Matthew Wright has struggled in Bacolor, making just 5-of-32 shots in Phoenix’s two games despite hitting the game-winning shot against Rain or Shine last Sept. 2.