The NorthPort Batang Pier got a much-needed win to remain in the playoff hunt in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup after escaping the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in overtime, 91-88, Sunday afternoon at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Greg Slaughter, who was sent to the bench and watched Calvin Abueva steal the win for Magnolia the last time around, finished the job in the Batang Pier's fifth win in 10 games when he stuffed Gabe Norwood's game-tying attempt in the dying moments. He finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and six blocks.
Before that, the two teams had trouble from the free throw line, as NorthPort kept the door open, but the Elasto Painters were unable to get inside.
With 13.8 seconds remaining and the Batang Pier holding on to a two-point lead, Kevin Ferrer split his free throws for what proved to be the winning margin.
That's because in the next possession, Rain or Shine veteran James Yap fished a foul from NorthPort rookie Jamie Malonzo only to brick all three of his freebies with 5.6 ticks to go. At the other end, Malonzo got his own couple of charities, but also failed to make one.
The Elasto Painters had one last shot to stay alive, but Slaughter's standout defense shut the door on them once and for all.
"The respect is there, the trust is there, we built it again and then we're going to be ready for the playoffs. Playoffs is a different story and this team is going to be different in the playoffs. I'm assuring that," expressed head coach Pido Jarencio of his wards who moved to a share of sixth with the much-needed win.
Slaughter's floater with 1:46 remaining in regulation also breathed life into NorthPort as it tied the tally, which remained all knotted up until the buzzer of the fourth quarter.
Robert Bolick had a chance to win it outright for the Batang Pier, but was stifled by Rain or Shine's towering defense, as his shot never touched the rim when the buzzer expired. Still, he wound up with 24 markers, seven assists, and six boards to help the Batang Pier move forward from their heartbreaking defeat to the Hotshots.
Jewel Ponferrada had a great game from the bench for the Elasto Painters, submitting a team-high 17 points, while shooting 4/5 from downtown. Despite ending the eliminations with a loss, Rain or Shine's 6-5 record remains good enough for a playoff spot.
NORTHPORT (91) -- Slaughter 25, Bolick 24, Anthony 9, Malonzo 8, Elorde 7, Lanete 6, Ferrer 4, Grey 4, Onwubere 3, Rike 1, Balanza 0, Doliguez 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (88) -- Ponferrada 17, Belga 11, Yap 9, Santillan 9, Borboran 8, Torres 8, Mocon 8, Nambatac 6, Asistio 5, Norwood 3, Guinto 2, Caracut 2, Wong 0.
Quarter Scores: 27-16, 42-37, 65-60, 80-80, 91-88 (OT).
- NorthPort was able to win despite shooting a paltry 4/27 (14.8%) from rainbow country.
- The game featured nine lead changes and eight ties.
Rain or Shine has played its last elimination round game and now awaits its quarterfinals matchup.
NorthPort vs. Alaska: Date to be determined