NorthPort got his groove in the second half, kept the iron grip on the lead and defeated Barangay Ginebra in the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the semi-finals of the PBA Governors' Cup with 124: 90 in Cubao.
The Batang Pier caused damage inside and out, thanks to the strong presence of Michael Qualls and Garvo Lanete, who gave Pido Jarencio's crack crew a decisive 1-0 lead in the three-way series.
"Maybe we just caught Ginebra in her spare time," said coach Pido Jarencio. "Although a well-executed game plan [from us] was released tonight, especially in the defense area."
Indeed, the defense was impeccable. NorthPort considered the crowd's favorites in the second quarter to be 51 to 39 ahead of just 19 points.
Qualls was at the forefront of this attack and eventually ended it with 38 points and 15 rebounds. Lanete shattered 24 into six triple buildings, one of which sparked a Ginebra uprising at the end of the third quarter.
The Gin Kings received the goods again from Justin Brownlee, who had 24 points and 19 rebounds. Stanley Pringle threw 21 more.
Barangay Ginebra appeared to have little enough to keep up with NorthPort number 8 until he was brought to life in the late third quarter when the Gin Kings came in at 62-61. But with Nico Elorde and Lanete contributing to a key run, Batang Pier went 10 in the fourth and continued to fill the lead from there.
Christian Standhardinger, of whom Jarencio believed he would still try to find his way around after his Gilas assignment at the Southeast Asian Games, still scored 16 points, although Sol Mercado 14 and Sean Anthony still 11 points for the Batang Pier threw.
Such a win, which set a new franchise record in terms of profit margin, should quickly be forgotten, according to Jarencio.
“[Ginebra coach] Tim Cone? He'll adapt, ”said the animated mentor. "So I'm going to look at the tape and see what they can adapt to."
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