Jul 24, 2021

Northport aims to snap 10-game losing streak against SMB

USING their last games as gauge, NorthPort and San Miguel Beer seem to have finally found their true form in the PBA Philippine Cup.

A glimpse of who between the Batang Pier and Beermen can sustain their fine form should be had Sunday when they collide at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, with each protagonist looking for a second straight win in three games that should further boost it up the standings.

NorthPort has extra motivation since SMB is the lone remaining team the former hasn't beaten in the import-less conference, dropping all their first 10 meetings.

For Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio, that may change this time if his charges reprise their sterling game against Phoenix Super LPG that resulted in a lopsided 115-79 win last Wednesday, bouncing the former back from a 63-85 humiliation from Meralco on opening day.

Game time is 2 p.m.

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"For me this will be our game. More on defense and 'yung offense darating na lang, ang flow darating na lang," said Jarencio following the win that saw six of his players score at least 12 points while holding the Fuel Masters to a paltry 31-of-97 field shooting for the Mikee Romero-owned franchise's largest margin of victory ever.

"We invested on defense. Pagkatapos 'yung offense madali na lang. Everybody will contribute, everybody will do their share," added Jarencio.

San Miguel should be a tougher nut, however.

In a 110-73 victory over NLEX just last Friday, six Beermen also scored in double digits as they got off to a hot start before easily quashing any Road Warriors' threat and cruising to the finish that negated their 87-93 loss to Meralco last Sunday.

"I think this is the product of our preparation during the offseason. And we're able to do all the things we need to do, especially on defense," said SMB coach Leo Austria in the post-game interview.

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"Tonight, they played really well," added Austria. "Everybody, even those players not getting a lot of playing time but in the third going to the fourth quarter, they sustained the effort of the first group."

Adding to the Beermen's impressive win are the facts it was fashioned despite the absence of Terrence Romeo (injured left knee), June Mar Fajardo starting to show his old lethal form to the tune of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and CJ Perez fully delivering the buckets expected of him.

To boost NorthPort's chances Greg Slaughter is expected to finally see action after sitting out the first two games. Ditto for Sean Anthony, who was sidelined in the Phoenix game due to a sore left ankle. (NC)