By Adrian Stewart Co
Gregory Slaughter had a huge defensive stop as NorthPort Batang Pier escaped with a 91-88 win against Rain or Shine (ROS) Elasto Painters in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Clinging to a 91-88 lead with two seconds left in overtime, Slaughter disrupted the Painters’ inbound before blocking on the three-point try by Gabe Norwood to secure the win for the Batang Pier.
Slaughter finished the match with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks as the Batang Pier snapped its two-game slide to improve to 5-5 win-loss slate and move closer to a playoff seat.
Robert Bolick Jr. added 24 points despite nursing a tight hamstring, Sean Anthony chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds, as Jamie Malonzo grabbed 14 boards to go with eight points for NorthPort.
It was a huge bounce back for the Batang Pier after their 90-89 loss to Magnolia Hotshots last Friday was marred by controversy when head coach Pido Jarencio took out Slaughter in the endgame, which led to a game-winner by Calvin Abueva.
Jarencio was mocked and heckled by netizens for that move, which many said was intentional to let Magnolia win, as the rumor of the Batang Pier being a farm team of San Miguel Corporation surfaced anew.
“I’ve coached for 12 years, never akong na-involve sa kung ano mang anumalya. Kaya kayong mga haters at bashers ko, bahala na ang Diyos sa inyo. I love you all,” Jarencio said.
Jewel Ponferrada finished with conference-high 17 points, while Beau Belga added 11 markers as the Painters saw its two-game winning run snapped for a 6-5 win-loss record.
On Saturday, Meralco Bolts (7-2) moved closer to sealing the remaining twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals following a 94-87 victory over Blackwater Bossing (0-11). Allein Maliksi topped the Bolts offense with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Also, TNT Tropang Giga (10-1) ended their elimination round campaign with a 103-85 rout of Alaska Aces (3-5). Roger Pogoy led the Tropang Giga with 18 points, while John Paul Erram added 17./ASC, WDJ