PBA: Mercado, Ferrer, Cruz deliver in Northport debuts
By Kevin Sox
The Stanley Pringle blockbuster deal that was viewed by many as a one-sided trade favoring Barangay Ginebra turned out to be just as fine as NorthPort’s new players on the block showed their worth in their respective debuts for the Batang Pier.
NorthPort dismantled Blackwater, 127-99 on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome behind Kevin Ferrer’s 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists as the wingman and former Gilas Pilipinas cadet had a superb welcome for the Batang Pier.
“Siguro, nadala namin yung attitude namin sa Ginebra. Na-improve namin yung takbuhan. Running game talaga sistema ng NorthPort,” said Ferrer. “We really aim for the Top 4.”
Former UAAP MVP Jervy Cruz, meanwhile, poured in a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds as well, while Sol Mercado had an all-around effort consisting of 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 dimes.
“Kailangan patunayan namin (na hindi sila lugi). Itong game na ito, nagcontribute kaming tatlo,” admitted Cruz after the game, per ABS-CBN Sports Online.
Cruz, who played for Batang Pier head coach Jarencio back in UST more than a decade ago, was surprised by the surge in playing time, but also mentioned he felt blessed by seeing more minutes once more at this stage in his career.
“Nakakapanibago kasi sa Ginebra, limited lang (yung time) … Para sa akin as a players, syempre mas gusto ko yung ginagamit ako,” said Cruz, adding he is happy to reunite with his college mentor.
“Syempre nakakatuwa kasi coach ko siya nung college tapos kinuha niya ulit ako para makapaglaro sa kanya.”
Together, the trio was able to help NorthPort gain a share of the top spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup team standings with a 7-1 record, tying TNT KaTropa.
Northport 127 – Ferrer 23, Anthony 22, Bolick 16, Cruz 16, Mercado 14, Ibeh 10, Taha 10, Tautuaa 8, Lanete 8, Gabayni 0.
Blackwater 99 – Parks 25, Al-Hussaini 16, Digregorio 10, Maliksi 10, Belo 10, Tratter 6, Alolino 5, Sumang 5, Desiderio 5, Javier 4, Salem 3, Cortez 0, Sena 0, Jose 0.
Quarterscores: 29-21, 54-39, 86-65, 127-99