MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The NorthPort Batang Pier got their first win of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup in emphatic fashion, as they overwhelmed the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 115-79, on Wednesday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Five players scored in double-digits, and the Batang Pier shot 50% from the field, including a blistering 44% from beyond the arc, to cruise to victory.
Their winning margin of 36 points is the largest in the history of the franchise.
Robert Bolick had a double-double of 20 points and 11 assists along with seven rebounds, while rookie center Troy Rike made six of his seven three-pointers en route to 20 points. Jamie Malonzo, their second overall pick in the Rookie Draft, had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Kevin Ferrer also scored 20 points, as the Batang Pier made 17 of their 38 three-pointers in the game.
"Masyadong disappointment 'yung first game namin," said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, referring to their 85-63 defeat to Meralco last Friday. "So, ginawa na lang namin, we fixed one thing, defense na lang."
"We set our rules on defense, and then sabi ko sa kanila, on defense, if we make stops, darating 'yung offense natin. Then we can get our flow on offense. So, it all started on defense," he added. "For me, this will be our game. More on defense, and then ang offense, darating na lang."
NorthPort limited the Fuel Masters to just 31% shooting form the field, including only five-of-30 from long distance.
The Batang Pier took a 22-18 lead after the first quarter but then broke the game open in the second frame, where they outscored Phoenix Super LPG, 28-13. Ferrer was unstoppable in the second period, putting up 10 points.
After zooming to a 51-30 lead at the half, the Batang Pier poured it on in the second half with Rike finding his touch from beyond the arc.
"Nag-focus talaga kami ni coach at saka buong team, coaching staff, sa defense talaga. So kita naman ngayon, grabe ang depensa namin. So sana, tuloy-tuloy pa rin," said Bolick, who is playing just his second game since a season-ending injury in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
Phoenix Super LPG drops to 0-2 in the conference, following their loss to Magnolia on Saturday.
Vic Manuel led the Fuel Masters with 26 points, while Matthew Wright had 15 markers and Jason Perkins added 12.