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NorthPort signs up top rookies
Jamie Malonzo
STAR/File

NorthPort signs up top rookies

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — NorthPort signed up second overall pick Jamie Malonzo and first-rounder Troy Rike yesterday as the Batang Pier added ceiling and fresh legs for the next PBA wars.

The Batang Pier inked the 6-foot-6 Malonzo to a maximum rookie deal for three years, and the 6-foot-7 Rike, their 11th selection, to a two-year pact.

Athletic forward Malonzo and 3x3 star Rike shore up a revamped NorthPort squad that previously acquired 7-foot Greg Slaughter for Christian Standhardinger in a blockbuster trade with Barangay Ginebra.

Slaughter is expected to blossom with more playing time and offensive involvement in coach Pido Jarencio’s crew, where he’s teaming up with Sean Anthony, Garvo Lanete, Kevin Ferrer and the comebacking Robert Bolick.

Aside from Slaughter and the blue-chip rookies, NorthPort also brought in Sidney Onwubere, Clint Doliguez and Jerrick Balanza from separate trades after its 11th place finish in an injury-plagued Philippine Cup bubble stint.

“We’re excited with our new acquisitions. It’s a matter of making a few adjustments and developing chemistry and I think the team will improve a lot,” Jarencio said in “The Huddle” program on One Sports.

NorthPort and other PBA teams are on standby for the league’s Season 46 plans amid the worsening COVID-19 situation and stricter quarantine status that have stopped all activities, including the non-contact group training sessions.

The PBA board of governors was meeting at presstime to decide on the course of action for the stalled season, which was originally eyed to open this month.

JAMIE MALONZO
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