No Pringle, no problem. The NorthPort Batang Pier did just fine without leading scorer Stanley Pringle and thumped the Alaska Aces 103-81 at the Ynares Center to open their 2019 Commissioner's Cup campaign.
Pringle had surgery to remove some bone spurs in his foot, but his teammates hardly felt his absence, putting out a brilliant all-around effort on both ends that pleased coach Pido Jarencio.
"We just played 48 minutes of good basketball," Jarencio said. "That's it. I told them that since last year, we only play well for three quarters. Without Stanley Pringle, I guess they were challenged. I told them everyone has to contribute and make it a team effort."
Behind Sean Anthony and Robert Bolick, the Batang Pier controlled the pace in the first half, erecting a 51-42 spread heading into the halftime break. They threatened to blow the game open midway through the third after surging to a 67-53 spread after a triple by Ryan Araña, but the Aces kept the lead below double digits at 75-66 heading into the fourth period thanks to rookie Jesper Ayaay's timely hits.
A triple by Carl Bryan Cruz to open the final period brought Alaska to within six, but that was the closest the Aces would get as the Batang Pier slowly widened the gap. Anthony's fadeaway jumper made it 95-76 with a little over three minutes left, all but sealing NorthPort's first win of the mid-season conference.
NorthPort reinforcement Prince Ibeh had a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds in his PBA debut, and Jarencio was satisfied with what he saw.
"He did three things well. Rebound, number one. Number two, presence inside. Number three, he can finish at the basket."
Anthony had 22 points to lead NorthPort, while rookie Robert Bolick matched Ibeh's 19-point output.
Chris Daniels had 21 for the Aces, who shot a dismal 39% from the field and failed to follow up their win over Columbian last Sunday.
NorthPort 103 - Anthony 22, Bolick 19, Ibeh 19, Grey 13, Tautuaa 12, Taha 9, Elorde 5, Arana 4, Flores 0.
Alaska 81 - Daniels 21, Enciso 10, Ayaay 10, Cruz 9, Casio 8, Baclao 7, Exciminiano 6, Thoss 4, Teng 2, Pascual 2, Racal 2, Galliguez 0, Babilonia 0.
Quarterscores: 28-21, 51-42, 75-66, 103-81
Jarencio said Pringle could have already played but decided to get a few more days' rest just to make sure he's 100%. The shifty guard will be back on Saturday for their game against NLEX.
Aside from Pringle, the Batang Pier also missed Garvo Lanete (sprained ankle) and Bradwyn Guinto (knee)
After a strong performance against the Dyip, Jeron Teng was held to just two points on 1 of 9 shooting.
Northport - May 25 vs. NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska - May 25 vs. TNT at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.