NorthPort moves to 2-0, Meralco opens season with comeback win

MANILA – NorthPort joins San Miguel in first place early into the PBA Philippine Cup after taking down Terrafirma, 100-86, on Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Batang Pier slowly chipped away the Dyip’s lead in the second quarter before pulling away in the second half.

Robert Bolick led the now 2-0 NorthPort squad with 26 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists, while Jamie Malonzo added 19 points, 16 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block.

Joshua Munzon and Juami Tiongson each fired 24 points for Terrafirma, which not just fell to 0-2 but also lost three players, Isaac Go, Eric Camson, and Ed Daquioag, to injuries.

In the nightcap, Meralco began its PBA 47th Season campaign with a huge 109-98 come-from-behind win against Phoenix.

Down by as much as 16, the Bolts crawled back and even pulled away from the Fuel Masters in the end as the veteran presence of Reynel Hugnatan proved to be crucial.

Phoenix was on the verge of a blowout win after racing to a 77-61 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.

However, Meralco closed out the period on a 14-2 run highlighted by eight straight points from Hugnatan to cut the lead down to four, 79-75.

The team then started the fourth with an 8-2 blast capped by back-to-back baskets from Chris Banchero to take the lead, 83-81, with 9:41 to play in the game.

The game remained tight midway through the fourth until the Bolts pulled away for good with a 14-2 run that stretched their lead to 14, 109-95, with 1:21 left.

Tyler Tio converted a consolation triple on the other end for the final tally.

Chris Newsome led Meralco with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Aaron Black added 19 points, three rebounds, and one assist.

Hugnatan shot 6-for-10 from the field for 17 points alongside three rebounds and two assists off the bench.

Jason Perkins fired 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for Phoenix, which slipped to 0-2. (PNA)