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NorthPort blasts Blackwater to open new year with assured playoff ticket

Joshua Munzon and Paul Zamar provided the spark as NorthPort bucked a slow start and blasted also-ran Blackwater, 106-89, to open the new year with an assured spot to the playoffs in the 2023- 24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, Jan. 5.

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Joshua Munzon goes for the layup against Blackwater import Chris Ortiz. (PBA Images)

The Batang Pier had to shake off some cobwebs after a two-week break with a strong finishing kick to the first half before the duo of Munzon and Zamar spearheaded an even fiery third quarter show to tear the game wide open.

NorthPort, which improved to a 6-4 record good for the sixth spot in the standings, was only holding on to a slim 35-33 lead before it unloaded a 10-2 flurry to establish a double-digit spread at the break.

Carrying over the momentum from that spurt, the Batang Pier then kept their feet on the gas pedal as Munzon and Zamar led the three-point barrage for NorthPort, which after only drilling three long bombs in the first two quarters, suddenly erupted for six triples.

Munzon led the assault with 20 points built on four triples to go along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Import Venky Jois added an all-around effort of 19 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists as NorthPort built a lead that went to as high as 24 points and never looked back from there.

Zamar had 13 points, most of it coming from the huge third quarter run while Arvin Tolentino, JM Calma and Kris Rosales all chalked up 10 apiece as NorthPort snapped a two-game slide and got a much-needed momentum boost ahead of its clash against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Rey Suerte paced the already out of contention Blackwater with 20 points while rookie Christian David added 17. The Bossing, however, continued their slump, firing an awful 4-of-32 clip from deep to drop to a 1-9 record at the bottom of the standings.

It also didn’t help that Chris Ortiz played subpar with only 14 points and 13 rebounds – an effort certainly not enough to alleviate the impact of the injuries to guys like Troy Rosario, Jvee Casio and Mike Ayonayon.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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