MANILA, Philippines – On Friday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City, ARVIN Tolentino made an early impression in his maiden PBA On Tour match by ensuring NorthPort defeated Blackwater by a score of 112 to 95.
After the Batang Pier’s command was regained after their commanding 18-point advantage was reduced to a low of eight in the third quarter, Tolentino scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half.
With only 5:45 remaining in the preseason exhibition game presented by Arena Plus and supported by Bingo Plus, Tolentino was eliminated permanently, but his final basket, a three-pointer, put NorthPort in command and put them well on their way to a second consecutive victory that evened their record to 2 to 2.
Although Tolentino played a significant part, other players also had an impact on the game, including Paolo Taha, Joshua Munzon, Paul Zamar, JM Calma, and Paul Zamar. Northport used these performances to build on its previous victory over TNT, which it won 99 to 90.
Zamar added 17 points, 13 of which came in the first half, helping the Batang Pier to a 42 to 38 lead at the intermission as Munzon continued his excellent play as a starter for the second consecutive game.
In the end, Calma finished with 16 points, while Taha scored 11, mostly filling in the middle for the injured Prince Caperal and ill Jon Gabriel.
Blackwater, which was looking for a follow-up to its 100-94 victory against Terrafirma also last week, was led by Troy Rosario’s 17 points. Instead, Blackwater tied NorthPort and idle San Miguel Beer, dropping into a tie with the other two teams.
For the Bossing, RK Ilagan scored 15 points, Tyrus Hill contributed 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Baser Amer and Rashawn McCarthy each added 11 points.
Similar to Tolentino, Rosario had only four points in the opening period but started to heat up in the third quarter, scoring 11 points and inspiring the Bossings to a comeback that saw them close the gap to 57 to 65 from 42 to 60.
Following a Munzon charity, Tolentino continued pouring it on with three three-pointers, extending NorthPort’s advantage back up to 85 to 69 heading into the fourth quarter.
With a couple of baskets and as many technical free throws off Rosario to start the fourth period, Tolentino himself was the driving force behind Batang Pier’s most decisive 8 to 0 run. He then blasted in his fourth and final triple of the contest to increase the margin to 26 points, 96 to 70.