by Jonas Terrado
Games Friday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. — Phoenix Pulse vs Blackwater
7 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs Meralco
NorthPort shut down import Terrence Jones and TNT KaTropa and cruised to a 110-86 victory for a share of the lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Batang Pier held Jones to just 17 on 5-of-15 shooting which was one of the keys in claiming their third straight win and tie the idle Blackwater Elite for the top spot.
Jones entered the contest averaging 42.0 points on 51 percent shooting during TNT’s lopsided triumphs over NLEX and Alaska.
“We almost played a perfect game, especially on defense,” said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, praising Sean Anthony and Mo Tautuaa for successfully limiting Jones’ production.
Stanley Pringle made his conference debut with a bang as he scored 22 points after missing the first two games for undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs on his right foot.
Pringle looked like he never missed, scoring nine in the third to help the Batang Pier turn a 44-43 deficit at halftime into a 77-65 lead going into the fourth.
Import Prince Ibeh contributed 18 points and 20 rebounds while rookie Robert Bolick continued his hot start by dropping 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Anthony and Tautuaa also did their share on the offensive end with 13 and 11 points with Garvo Lanete chipping in 12 for the Batang Pier.
TNT dropped to third place at 2-1 and perhaps lamenting on Jones’ struggles after his back-to-back 40-point outputs.
Troy Rosario led the KaTropa in scoring with 22 points, Roger Pogoy had 19 points and Jayson Castro 10.
Meanwhile, the PBA Board of Governors will again discuss Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the FIBA World Cup in a board meeting slated at the league office in Libis.
Expected to be tackled is Gilas’ plan to hold a tune-up match against Spain in early-August as part of its buildup for the Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 FIBA competition in China.