(UPDATED) Robert Bolick nearly notched a triple-double in NorthPort's comfortable 98-73 victory over the Blackwater Bossing, Thursday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
In what was the Batang Pier's first game of the PBA's restart in Pampanga, Bolick put up 17 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists to lead the way for his team.
NorthPort claimed just its second win of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, while the Bossing remained winless in eight outings.
The Batang Pier did not play last week in accordance with the PBA's health and safety protocols. On Thursday, they were without head coach Pido Jarencio who tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in quarantine. Team manager Bonnie Tan called the shots for NorthPort.
"I just came in Pampanga two days ago," said Tan. "But when I watched them practice, nakita ko 'yung pagiging positive nila (even though they are) coach-less."
"Give credit to our captain balls, sa leaders namin, Sean Anthony and Kevin Ferrer, who took charge," he added.
It was a close game at the half, with NorthPort settling for a 45-40 lead. Blackwater was clicking defensively, holding the Batang Pier to under 30% shooting.
But NorthPort blew the game open in the third frame, where they outscored the Bossing, 30-13. Bolick set the tone by making all three of his shots for eight points while also dishing out four assists in the period.
After a Richard Escoto layup made it a three-point game, 47-44, with 11 minutes left, NorthPort put up 10 straight points to push the lead to double-digits, 57-44. The Batang Pier did not let up from there, and the lead ballooned to 26 points on a Jamie Malonzo free throw, 75-49, with 1:18 left in the third period.
It grew to as much as 33 points, 95-62, when Garvo Lanete made three free throws off a Joshua Torralba foul with 3:15 to play.
The rookie Malonzo tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Greg Slaughter had 12 points and Ferrer finished with 14 markers. NorthPort had massive 65-40 rebounding advantage against the Bossing.
Frank Golla led Blackwater in scoring with 14 points, making three of eight attempts from beyond the arc. Escoto added 10 markers.