NorthPort ends skid vs Phoenix
NorthPort Batang Pier Sean Anthony charges into Alex Mallari of Phoenix Pulse.

NorthPort ends skid vs Phoenix

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The NorthPort Batang Pier broke free from the stranglehold of Phoenix Pulse, scooping up a crucial 80-70 triumph that reinjected life into their bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum,.

The Batang Pier squandered a 13-point lead but recovered and finished strong as they finally beat the Fuel Masters for the first time in six head-to-head meetings since last season.

More importantly, coach Pido Jarencio’s charges snapped a four-game skid in the Petron Saturday Special matchup and improved to 2-4, now within striking distance of the sixth-running squads Columbian and Magnolia (3-2).

“It’s probably the  law of averages working tonight. We were 0-5 against Phoenix since last season and it’s about time we finally win one against them and for the players to regain their confidence,,” said Jarencio.

“I told them during practices let’s regroup. refocus, fix our goals and mindset and let’s make stops. And they responded,” he added.

The Batang Pier got off to a strong start, storming to an early 12-2 lead and maintaining a 53-40 upperhand halfway through the third. But the Fuel Masters unloaded a searing rally to end the penultimate period at a manageable three-point deficit and finally overtook NorthPort, 61-60, on a jumper by Jason Perkins with still 9:12 left in the fourth.

Jarencio’s charges got their second wind, though, and countered with a 20-9 salvo to deliver the KO blow.

Mo Tautuaa paced NorthPort with 16, making four of them in the mop-op, to go with nine rebounds and four assists while Paolo Taha shot 14, his three-pointer actually touching off that searing windup.

NorthPort import Mycal Ammons accounted for 12 and six boards and shackled Phoenix counterpart Eugene Phelps, who managed only 14 markers but had 14 caroms and eight dimes.

Alex Mallari led scoring with 16 for the Fuel Masters, who dropped to 2-5.

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