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NorthPort, TNT zero in on Top 2 with contrasting wins


MANILA — NorthPort Batang Pier and TNT KaTropa inched closer to a Top 2 finish in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup eliminations after beating their respective foes in contrasting fashion at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday night.

The Batang Pier nosed out the Columbian Dyip, 110-108, while the KaTropa ripped the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, 102-81.

Robert Bolick won it for NorthPort in a most intriguing fashion.

With the game tied, 108-all, Bolick had his layup challenged by Lester Prosper, but Prosper was caught for goaltending, giving the Batang Pier the lead with 2.8 seconds left.

Eric Camson tried to force overtime, but his potential equalizer failed to hit the target as time expired.

Mo Tautuaa led NorthPort, which moved up to 8-2, with 23 points, five rebounds, six assists, and one steal.

Bolick added 21 markers, four boards, five dimes, and two steals.

Prince Ibeh chipped in 17 points, 15 boards, two assists, and six blocks.

Prosper finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds for Columbian, which fell to 2-7.

CJ Perez added 29 points, 12 caroms, six dimes, one steal, and one block, while Rashawn McCarthy had his own double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds with four assists and two steals.

Meanwhile, a fourth quarter breakaway was all TNT needed to repulse ROS.

The KaTropa outscored the E-Painters, 29-15, in the final 12 minutes to pull away for good.

Terrence Jones posted a rare 30-20 triple-double for TNT, which moved up to a conference-leading 8-1 record, with 33 points, 21 rebounds, and 13 assists with two blocks and four steals.

RR Pogoy added 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks.

Denzel Bowles put up 28 markers, eight caroms, two dimes, two blocks, and two steals, while Javee Mocon chipped in 19 points, 10 boards, five dimes, and two steals for ROS.

The KaTropa and the Batang Pier can seal the Top 2, which means a one-win incentive in the quarterfinal round, with a win in their next games and a loss by the Magnolia Hotshots in one of their remaining four games.

Magnolia will face Blackwater, another team still in hopes of a Top 2 finish, on Friday and Ginebra two nights later. (PNA)