Friday’s meeting between the NorthPort Batang Pier and the TNT Tropang Giga is an all-important one for both sides. A win will give the Tropang Giga a spot in the top four for a twice-to-beat advantage. Meanwhile, a victory for NorthPort would mean a sure spot in the quarterfinals.
Catch this game live on Friday, March 11at 6 pm, Manila time.
The NorthPort Batang Pier (5-5)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Roi Sumang
- SG: Robert Bolick Jr.
- SF: Arwind Santos
- PF: Jamie Malonzo
- C: Jamel Artis
Call them giant slayers, Cinderella, or whatever. What’s clear is that the Batang Pier are a team that’s peaking at the perfect time. NorthPort is wreaking havoc since the conference’s resumption in February, going 5-0 in its last five games. Over that span, the Batang Pier have victimized the likes of the Meralco Bolts, Magnolia Hotshots, and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. In their last game, the Batang Pier outlasted a pesky Terrafirma Dyip squad in a 124-117 win.
Import Jamel Artis has been gelling nicely with his local teammates. A scoring machine out of Pittsburgh, Artis is averaging 29.5 points on 47.5 FG% and 38.5 3FG% this conference. Robert Bolick is behind him with 22.1 points per contest. But perhaps the most surprising is the play of veteran Arwin Santos, who seems to be aging like fine wine. He is scoring 17.8 points per game in the Governors’ Cup and shooting 34.1 3FG%. He also leads all active Batang Pier players with 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest. NorthPort is averaging 101.3 points per game this conference, but that’s been up to 110.6 during the team’s current win streak.
The TNT Tropang Giga (6-4)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mikey Williams
- SG: Kib Montalbo
- SF: Roger Pogoy
- PF: Kelly Williams
- C: Aaron Fuller
If the Batang Pier are looking for an all-out firefight, Mikey Williams and the Tropang Giga are not going to back down from that challenge. They have just smothered the DYIP with their offense in a 127-107 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night. TNT is also on an unbeaten run itself, having won in all of its past four outings, which included victories over the San Miguel Beermen and the Barangay Ginebra Kings. Although they are not averaging (98.9 PPG) as much points as NorthPort, the Tropang Giga can cut high-scoring teams down to size with their defense.
TNT is second in the conference with just 91.6 points allowed per game. It’s also second in defensive rating with just 110.9 points surrendered per 100 possessions. Advanced stats also have TNT being a better offensive team than NorthPort, with the Tropang Giga putting up 110.9 points per 100 possessions, while the Batang Pier are making 106.6. Look for the Tropang Giga to take advantage as well of NorthPort’s soft defense that’s giving up 102.2 points per contest.
Spread: Batang Pier get shipwrecked by TNT, which covers the spread (-5.5).
Over/Under: The Tropang Giga are going to feast on NorthPort’s defense. The Batang Pier won’t reach their conference average, but this game will still hit the Over (204.5).