By Jonas Terrado
NorthPort overcame a late uprising by Rain or Shine to produce a 99-94 victory and begin its PBA Governors’ Cup on a bright note Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Import Mychal Ammons and rookie Robert Bolick made key baskets down the stretch as the Batang Pier sealed the win after the Elasto Painters tried to erase a 24-point deficit late in the contest.
Ammons scored, Bolick hit two free throws and a layup as NorthPort took a 97-87 lead, 59.1 seconds left, after Rain or Shine closed to gap to four on a Rey Nambatac jumper.
“Pangit lang ang ending but a win is a win,” said coach Pido Jarencio.
Ammons finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds while Bolick added 20 points in his first game since an impressive performance for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup in China.
The Batang Pier won despite missing the services of team captain Sean Anthony, who underwent surgery on his left ankle more than a month before the start of the conference.
Reinforcement Joel Wright posted 22 points and 14 rebounds but the Elasto Painters dropped their initial assignment in the season-ending conference.
Nambatac added 19 points, six rebounds and five assists and James Yap scored 15.
Gabe Norwood put up seven points, two rebounds and three assists for the Elasto Painters in his return from Gilas duties.
NORTHPORT 99 — Ammons 25, Bolick 20, Ferrer 12, King 8, Lanete 8, Cruz 6, Tautuaa 5, Elorde 4, Taha 4, Escoto 4, Mercado 3.
RAIN OR SHINE 94 — Wright 22, Nambatac 19, Yap 15, Belga 11, Norwood 7, Mocon 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 3, Torres 3, Exciminiano 2, Rosales 0.
Quarters: 29-13; 58-38; 83-66; 99-94.