NorthPort leaned on the heroics of former Brgy. Ginebra guard Paolo Taha to stun the playoff-bound Gin Kings, 98-96, Sunday night in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 28-year old Taha, who spent 2 seasons with the crowd darlings, came off the bench and made two big plays during the crucial stretch of the payoff period as the Batang Pier improved to 5-6 and formally secured a ticket to the next round.
Micahel Qualls paced the Pido Jarencio-mentored squad with 30 points to go along with 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Sean Anthony added 18 while Christian Standhardinger chipped in 17 plus 11 boards. Kevin Ferrer had 11 markers while Taha finished with 7.
“A win is a win. One point, two points, three points, basta kami, blessing nanalo tayo. At least, we are in the quarters. We’ll be ready against the twice-to-beat team,” said Jarencio.
“I give it to the players. Gusto nila eh. Sabi ko sa kanila, may practice pa tayo Tuesday ha. Off tayo tomorrow. Sabi nila, okay daw,” he added.
Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings’ losing cause with 30 points while Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio contributed 18 and 15 points, respectively.
Brgy. Ginebra dropped to 7-4 and will await the results of the games on Wednesday to determine its opponent in the quarterfinal round. The 2017 Governors’ Cup champs will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage.
NorthPort 98 – Qualls 30, Anthony 18, Standhardinger 17, Ferrer 11, Taha 7, Cruz 6, Lanete 5, Mercado 2, Elorde 2, King 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 96 – Brownlee 31, Pringle 18, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 14, Thompson 7, Chan 4, Dela Cruz 4, Devance 3, Mariano 0, Caperal 0.
Quarterscores: 20-29, 51-52, 75-73, 98-96.