Who needs Stanley Pringle?
Not the Batang Pier which showed its heart and resilience even without its former star to overhaul a 25-point second half deficit and come back strong to stun Rain or Shine, 107-105, in overtime.
NorthPort regained a share of the lead in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup with the victory Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Moala Tautuua had a career-night, exploding for a team-high 34 points and 11 rebounds for the Batang Pier to lead the way as he seemed poise to be the team’s new top gun.
His triple with 29 seconds remaining capped his game-long brilliance as that proved to be the marginal basket, making it 107-102 for NorthPort.
Seemingly stunned, Rain or Shine was unable to gather itself in the extension.
Robert Bolick forced overtime after tying the game at 100-apiece with a clutch triple with 11 seconds remaining in regulation.
NorthPort regained a share of first place with TNT KaTropa, improving to 6-1 following this third straight win.
On the other hand, the Elasto Painters fell to 2-3 after seeing their two-game winning run snapped.
When it seemed like the Batang Pier, who trailed by double-digits for most of the game, was already bound to earn one in the loss column, it mounted an astonishing rally in the fourth period.
Down by 21, 63-84, entering the payoff period, many thought that the game was over, but not NorthPort.
The Batang Pier showed a lot of fight and outscored the shocked Elasto Painters, 37-16, in the fourth frame to give itself a chance in overtime.
The post-Pringle era for NorthPort obviously started on a high note.
In a shocking move, the Batang Pier traded away Pringle, its main man for the last five years, to Barangay Ginebra late Tuesday in exchange for veterans Jervy Cruz, Sol Mercado and Kevin Ferrer.
With the trade completed less than a full day before its encounter with the Painters, the Batang Pier’s three new acquisitions were still unable to suit up and play.
The move gained a lot of attention and now, NorthPort is moving forward to a new chapter in its franchise.
Denzel Bowles’ game-high numbers of 41 points and 21 rebounds went for naught as Rain or Shine stumbled to drop the game in the end.