By JONAS TERRADO
Greg Slaughter blocked Gabe Norwood’s game-tying three in the final seconds to secure NorthPort’s 91-88 overtime victory over Rain or Shine yesterday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Anticipating a give-and-go play with Norwood as the inbounder, Slaughter quickly went to the corner and denied the Elasto Painters veteran’s shot at the left corner to help the Batang Pier snap a two-game skid.
Slaughter made his presence count two days after the Batang Pier suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots when coach Pido Jarencio made a last-second switch to make Sidney Onwubere defend inbounder Rome dela Rosa instead of the 7-footer.
That resulted in Calvin Abueva’s buzzer-beating basket and Jarencio getting the ire of fans on social media.
“I was so apologetic to Greg and the team after our loss to Magnolia,” said Jarencio. “We patched things up, we’re here to work and we are professionals.”
NorthPort improved to 5-5 for a share of sixth place with NLEX in the standings, needing to win its final elimination round game against Alaska later this week at a still undetermined date to secure a place in the quarterfinals.
Slaughter had 25 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks, including the swat on Norwood while Robert Bolick added 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Back-to-back baskets by Slaughter and Bolick made it 88-84 for NorthPort with 1:40 left in the five-minute extension.
Rain or Shine cut the margin to two twice before getting a break when Kevin Ferrer made just one of two free throws with 13 seconds left.
NorthPort rookie Jamie Malonzo later fouled James Yap from the three-point line with five seconds left, giving ROS a chance to tie. Yap, however, missed all three attempts, deliberately missing the last, before Malonzo got fouled after a rebound.
But Malonzo would muffed both charities which gave ROS one last chance to force a second five-minute period which never happened following Slaughter’s block.
Jewel Ponferada scored 17 points, most of which came during a rally from a 67-60 deficit in the fourth, as Rain or Shine finished the eliminations at 6-5 heading into the quarterfinals.
NORTHPORT 91 — Slaughter 25, Bolick 24, Anthony 9, Malonzo 8 , Elorde 7, Lanete 6, Grey 4, Ferrer 4, Onwubere 3, Rike 1, Balanza 0, Doliguez 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 88 — Ponferada 17, Belga 11, Santillan 9, Yap 9, Mocon 8, Torres 8, Borboran 8, Nambatac 6, Asistio 5, Caracut 2, Norwood 3, Guinto 2, Wong 0.
Quarters: 27-16, 42-37, 65-60, 80-80, 91-88.