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PBA: NorthPort keeps Blackwater winless in first game back

NorthPort rookie Jamie Malonzo

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NorthPort rookie Jamie Malonzo

NorthPort rookie Jamie Malonzo. PBA IMAGESCe

MANILA, Philippines—NorthPort snapped a two-game skid and won its first game back after more than a month, beating Blackwater, 98-73, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Thursday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Batang Pier rallied behind head coach Pido Jarencio, who is in isolation after contracting COVID-19, to improve to a 2-3 record while the Bossing slid to their eighth straight loss against zero wins this conference.

Holding a slim 45-40 lead heading into the break, the Batang Pier went into overdrive in the third period, outscoring Blackwater 30-13 to take a huge 75-53 buffer heading into the final frame.

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Team manager Bonnie Tan, who is serving as interim head coach in Jarencio’s absence, said he was impressed how the players stuck to their routines despite the absence of their coaches.

Jarencio is just one of the Batang Pier’s coaches to go into isolation as six other members of the coaching staff tested positive for the virus.

“When I to my first practice with the team I actually surprised them but it was I who got impressed with how dedicated the players were,” said Tan. “Even without a coach you can see their dedication. They were talking with each other on how to execute the coaches’ game plan.”

“I saw their positive attitude and I was confident that our team leaders Kevin [Ferrer], Sean [Anthony], Robert [Bolick], and Greg [Slaughter] can lead us in this game.”

Rookie Jamie Malonzo was just one of three players from NorthPort who finished with a double-double as he tallied 17 points, 12 rebounds, one steal, and two blocks.

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Bolick had 17 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists while Slaughter added 12 points, 11 rebounds, one steal, and two blocks.

Frank Golla had 14 points, seven rebounds, and three steals for Blackwater.

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