Stanley Pringle took a backseat as rookie Robert Bolick and Paolo Taha took charge in leading the NorthPort Batang Pier to an emphatic 117-91 win over Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bolick, the No. 3 overall pick in the recent draft, wasted little time, dropping 10 points right in the opening period and finishing with 26 points, three rebounds, and three assists while Taha scored 21 points to go with six rebounds and three dimes to lead the Batang Pier to their opening victory.
Sean Anthony chipped in 19 points and Pringle had 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, six steals, but turned the ball over five times.
NorthPort battered the Elite on all fronts especially in the fourth period where the Batang Pier turned the 13-point lead at the end of the third into a breakaway.
Mo Tautuaa opened the final frame with an and-one play. Pringle dropped four minutes later before Taha's layup with 8:49 gave the Batang Pier a taste of a 21-point spread, 97-76. NorthPort maintained steam, with Bolick unloading a booming triple to make it a 24-point contest.
The Batang Pier chalked up their biggest lead, 111-82, with still 4:54 minutes remaining. Blackwater, which led by 12 in the first half, hardly resisted from there.
It wasn't only Bolick, though, who had a rousing debut.
Abu Tratter paced Blackwater with 18 points to go along nine rebounds, two steals, and a pair of blocks while playing a little over 35 minutes.
Roi Sumang started off hot but was limited in the second half. Still he wound up with 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the arc. He also had five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Allein Maliksi and Chris Javier scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
NorthPort 117 - Bolick 26, Taha 21, Anthony 19, Pringle 16, Guinto 12, Tautuaa 11, Elorde 5, Flores 4, Arana 3, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Blackwater 91 - Tratter 18, Sumang 16, Maliksi 13, Javier 11, Belo 8, Digregorio 5, Jose 5, Desiderio 5, Alolino 4, Sena 2, Banal 2, Eriobu 2, Palma 0, Dario 0.
Quarters: 22-31, 55-48, 88-75, 117-91.
-It was a rousing debut for Bolick, whose first basket was a layup plus a bonus free throw with a little over a minute into the game. He was a perfect 7-of-7 from the perimeter while shooting 3-of-5 from the 3-point area.
-Paul Desiderio debuted for Blackwater. Desiderio, who was drafted by NLEX before being shipped to the Elite, finished with five points and two steals in almost 20 minutes of action.
-NorthPort exploited its size advantage over Blackwater, which was lacking in ceiling. The Batang Pier outscored Blackwater in the paint, 68-32.
NorthPort vs. NLEX on January 20 at the Big Dome.
Blackwater vs. Meralco on January 19 at the Ynares Center in Antipo.