Winning against the San Miguel Beermen was a cause of celebration but the true measure for the Columbian Dyip is consistency. After losing their second game of the 2019 Philippine Cup to the Phoenix Fuel Masters, the Dyip bounced back with a come-from-behind 110-100 victory against the NorthPort Batang Pier, Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Columbian was down by 10 points in the third quarter as it looked like the undefeated Batang Pier was ready to break the game wide open. However, even without one of their main gunners in Jerramy King, the Dyip fought back led by Rashawn McCarthy. Columbian ended up dropping 35 third-quarter points to take command of the contest, refusing to relinquish the lead until the final buzzer.
The Dyip overcame an explosion from Stanley Pringle who finished with 29 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the three-point range. Moala Tautaa also had a big game with 23 points but only three of these came in the second half.
Columbian managed to rise above these big numbers by playing as a team as they had seven players scoring in double digits with Jay-R Reyes barely missing it with eight points.
Jackson Corpuz, Reden Celda, and rookie Jeepy Faundo led the squad with 15 points apiece. McCarthy played an outstanding all-around game with 14 points, six rebounds, 12 assists, and three steals.
JP Calvo, CJ Perez, and Eric Camson all chipped in 12 points for Columbian.
"Last year was a learning experience for us. We're hungry. We don't want to experience suffering tough losses like we did last season," said McCarthy, one of the Best Players of the Game. "I'm still learning game by game and day by day but my coaches and teammates are giving me a lot of trust so I have to repay it."
"My brother told me not to feel pressured because I'm still a rookie and just give my best," said the other Best Player of the Contest, Faundo, whose older brother Bryan plays for the Meralco Bolts. "I just want to play more consistently, especially on the defensive end."
It was a tightly contested first quarter with NorthPort carrying a 28-24 lead after the first 12 minutes. It was the big men who starred in the opener with Faundo chipping in six points for Columbian while Tautuaa notched eight for NorthPort. The Batang Pier were able to hang onto the lead thanks to the explosive scoring of Tautaa who already picked up 20 points alongside six rebounds, two assists, and three steals in the first half. NorthPort weathered a CJ Perez-powered rally at the start of the second period for the Dyip as they held a 55-51 advantage at end of the first half.
NorthPort made a move to control the game early in the third period as Tautaa scored on a put-back dunk and assisted on a Pringle triple to stretch their lead to 10, 66-56, their first double-digit advantage of the game.
Columbian got a reprieve as Tautuaa committed his fourth personal foul at the 8:30 mark of the third, which allowed the Dyip to match up better against the Batang Pier.
Even with the 14 third-quarter points from Pringle, NorthPort could not hang on to the lead when the guard joined Tautuaa on the bench for some rest. McCarthy led Columbian with eight points and two assists in the latter half of the third period including a layup that gave them a 78-77 lead.
The Dyip wrested control of the matchup as they led 86-79, a 17-point turnaround from the 9-minute mark of the third. Columbian opened the fourth with a triple from Celda and a jumper from Corpuz to build their own double-digit lead 91-79.
Columbian 110 - Faundo 15, Corpuz 15, Celda 15, McCarthy 14, Calvo 12, Perez 12, Camson 12, Reyes 8, Escoto 4, Khobuntin 3, Cahilig 0, Agovida 0.
NorthPort 100 - Pringle 29, Tautuaa 23, Anthony 19, Grey 11, Elorde 5, Guinto 4, Taha 4, Bolick 3, Gabayni 2, Flores 0, Arana 0, Lanete 0, Sollano 0.
Quarters: 24-28, 51-55, 86-79, 110-100.
Jeepy Faundo joins a long list of rookies who have put in spectacular performances this season although his explosion came a little later. Faundo failed to score a single point in 7 minutes of action in his debut against SMB. He was a DNP-CD in their loss to the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
After coming up with 26 points in his debut and 14 in their last game against NLEX, Robert Bolick was limited to single-digit scoring as the Dyip's defense was ready for him. He only had three points on 1 of 7 shooting from the field although he chipped in elsewhere with seven rebounds and six assists.
Columbian vs NLEX Road Warriors on Jan. 27 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum
NorthPort vs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Feb. 8 at the MOA Arena