By Adrian Stewart Co
NorthPort Batang Pier got a boost heading into the playoffs after a 122-94 rout of Alaska Aces at the close of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup eliminations on Thursday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Robert Bolick Jr. tallied triple-double 22 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, while rookie Jamie Malonzo added 21 markers as the Batang Pier finished the eliminations at fifth place with 6-5 win-loss slate.
Ilonggo Juan Paolo Taha drilled 18 points, while Sidney Onwubere and rookie Troy Rike contributed 13 and 12 markers, respectively, for NorthPort, which will face No. 4 ranked San Miguel Beermen in the best-of-three quarterfinals beginning on Sunday.
The Batang Pier leaned on early hits by Malonzo and Onwubere and six straight points from Taha for a 28-20 edge. It grew further to 61-43 at the half with Malonzo converting from inside and Bolick connecting his triples.
NorthPort continued its rampage in the second half behind Bolick, Malonzo, Taha, and Rike as the lead reached its largest at 120-91 late in the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Henri Lorenzo Subido.
Jeron Teng top-scored with 18 points, Abu Tratter and Michael Digregorio added 13 markers apiece, while Benedict Adamos had 10 points as the Aces ended their campaign at 11th place with 3-8 slate.
NorthPort’s victory has also benefitted defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings as the latter earned the right to face Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters for the eighth and final quarterfinals seat in a do-or-die game on Saturday afternoon.
NORTHPORT 122 – Bolick 22, Malonzo 21, Taha 18, Onwubere 13, Rike 12, Ferrer 7, Doliguez 7, Balanza 6, Elorde 5, Subido 5, Grey 4, Faundo 2, Lanete 0.
ALASKA 94 – Teng 18, Tratter 13, Digregorio 13, Adamos 10, Casio 9, Banal 7, Brondial 5, Browne 5, Stockton 4, Marcelino 4, Ebona 3, Ilagan 3, Publico 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20, 61-43, 94-78, 122-94./ASC, WDJ