After a long slump, the NorthPort Batang Pier remain in control of their quarterfinals fate. The Batang Pier can still make the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs with a victory over Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday.
"We're still alive, still breathing. Not out of the hole yet but at least we can see the light," Sean Anthony said after dropping a double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds in NorthPort's 94-84 beating of Alaska on Wednesday.
The past two months had been challenging for the Batang Pier. After opening the conference with a couple of wins, they crashed down in the next six games. The tough losing streak put them on the verge of elimination, but instead of giving up, the whole team worked together to revive their dwindling chances.
"Whenever you lose, it's just like one of the things you learn as a kid, you got to bounce back. You get knocked down, you got to get up and keep fighting," said star player Stanley Pringle, who averaged 24 points in NorthPort's crucial victories.
"That's what we did as a team, we stuck together, we got closer," Pringle continued. "Nobody's pointing fingers, nobody's blaming each other. We just stuck together as a team and we picked each other up. As you can see, it's finally showing."
During the tough skid, the Batang Pier lacked the endgame composure to close out tight matches. Against TNT and Alaska, they banked on their new-found confidence to fend off their opponents' late attempts to recover.
"It's a great team win in the last two games," said Anthony. "We have multiple guys scoring, good ball movement, and contributions from everyone. Definitely a confidence-booster just to get a win after a losing streak like that, and we did it the right way together, which is a great learning experience."
With a 4-6 record, NorthPort improved to a tie for seventh place alongside NLEX. A win over Ginebra next Wednesday will give them an automatic entry to the playoffs, while a loss will at least assure them of a knockout battle for the eighth spot.
Robert Bolick, who is in Calasiao, Pangasinan for the All-Star Weekend events, is looking forward to that crucial matchup.
"I'm really thinking about our next game against Ginebra," said Bolick in Filipino. "My teammates are also really ready for that game."
"We had some stuff not go our way earlier in the season, we had a bit of a losing streak, but like I said, we're digging our way out," said Anthony. "We're not out yet, [but] at least it's in our hands now. Just one win, one win away."
ESPN5's Jan Ballesteros contributed to this report.