Beermen fall to import-less Batang Pier

Despite the absence of import Venky Jois, who sat out game due to a tight left hamstring, NorthPort rode a hot shooting night to stun San Miguel, 115-101, Friday night in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Led by Arvin Tolentino’s 28 points, five other NorthPort players each drained at least two three-pointers, accounting for 15 total treys that powered the upset.

“Wala ‘yung best player sa team namin kaya everybody had to step up,” said Tolentino, who also finished with five rebounds and two assists.

“We played our game lang, walang masyadong iisipin, sundin lang ang game plan and be confident.”

Despite fielding an all-Filipino lineup, the Batang Pier dazzled the Beermen with slick ball movement, leading 29-22 after the opening period.

However, Marcio Lassiter began hitting three-pointers as San Miguel tightened their defense to tie the game 36-36. Joshua Munzon and Prince Caperal retaliated for NorthPort to regain the lead, 47-44.

At halftime, NorthPort held a 55-48 advantage.

In the second half, the Batang Pier continued to confound the Beermen with their ball movement. Caperal and Jeff Chan sank baskets to maintain NorthPort’s lead, 69-63.

Jericho Cruz hit two free throws to cut NorthPort’s lead to 71-70. However, NorthPort responded with back-to-back scoring runs to extend their lead to 14 points, 89-75.

NorthPort never relinquished the lead after that.

The win was NorthPort’s third in a row, while San Miguel suffered its second loss in four games.

Batang Pier coach Bonnie Tan hopes Jois will return for their next game.

“May tighness lang sa left hamstring lang, but he said he’ll be OK,” said Tan.

The Beermen will have a one-day break and will be back on Sunday to take on the undefeated Magnolia Hotshots at the same venue.

The scores:

NorthPort 115 – Tolentino 28, Munzon 16, Flores 15, Calma 11, Paraiso 11, Chan 10, Caperal 8, Yu 8, Amores 6, Taha 2, Ayaay 0, Balagasay 0, Salado 0.

San Miguel 101 – Aska 26, Tautuaa 18, Lassiter 16, Perez 11, Ross 10, Cruz 10, Brondial 8, Mallilin 2, Bulanadi 0.

Quarterscores: 29-22, 55-48, 92-77, 115-101.

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