SEVEN-FOOT Greg Slaughter and Northport bounced back from a frustrating defeat last time by nipping Rain or Shine in overtime, 91-88, to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinals spot in Season 46 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Slaughter—removed by Northport Head Coach Pido Jarencio in the last play in an 89-90 loss to Magnolia allowing Calvin Abueva to hit the winning basket last Friday—swatted Gabe Norwood’s game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer in the extension frame to preserve Northport’s fifth win against fifth loss.

He also remained dominant though against the Elasto Painters, tallying 25 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field, grabbing 11 rebounds, and blocking six enemy attempts to overtake Northern Luzon Expressway (5-5) for now at sixth place with both teams have one game left at the end of the elimination round.

“I am very upset that we lost just like any other loss—and I am very happy that we won just like any other win,” Slaughter said when asked about his feelings after that frustrating setback to the Hotshots—where he finished with 21 points, pulled down eight rebounds and got five blocks.

Sean Anthony, who had nine points and 10 rebounds, gave Northport a 90-86 lead with 52 ticks left in the extension frame. But Beau Belga hit both free throws to keep the game at striking distance before Northport’s Kevin Ferrer scored on a split free throw for a 91-88 advantage with 13 ticks left.

Rain or Shine had a chance to force another extension but two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap bungled three free throws after being fouled by high-flying rookie Jamie Malonzo in the act of shooting beyond the three-point zone with still five seconds to go.

Malonzo secured the rebound and was sent to the foul line, but missed both. Rain or Shine called for a timeout with 2.5 seconds remaining to set up a play, but Slaughter anticipated Gabe Norwood’s attempt.

“I was very apologetic to Greg [Slaughter] and the rest of the team. We patched things up. We’re here to work and they are professional enough,” Jarencio said, who had a message to his critics:  “To all my bashers and to my haters, I played 17 years and coached for 12 years. I was never involved in any anomalies. I love you [bashers] all.”

Robert Bolick racked up 24 points along with seven assists and six rebounds, while Malonzo collected 14 rebounds, five blocks and scored eight points also for the Batang Pier.

After a game-tying basket by Slaughter in the regulation, 80-all, with 1:46 to go, both teams missed all their attempts, the following plays including Bolick’s lay-up with four ticks to go that sent the game to overtime.

Jewel Ponferada led Rain or Shine with 17 points, but the Elasto Painters failed to get the win. Rain or Shine ended the elimination round with a 6-5 win-loss record and its placing depends on the results of the next week’s games.

Former Phoenix Coach Ariel Vanguardia returned as interim coach of Blackwater,  replacing coach Nash Racela, according to team owner Dioceldo Sy.

Racela was replaced after the team suffered an embarrassing 19th consecutive defeat.





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