MANILA - NorthPort will have to make full use of its twice-to-beat advantage in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup after losing to San Miguel Beer, 98-84, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
NorthPort, seeded No. 2 in the quarterfinals, twice clawed back from a double-digit deficit, but could not do it a third time as SMB pulled away in the final six minutes of the game.
Squandered in the loss was a solid effort from rookie point guard Robert Bolick, who put up 20 points and six assists, while sparking the Batang Pier's comeback from a 17-point hole in the third frame.
The young guard remained on an even keel, however, even after they suffered a costly defeat that allowed San Miguel to force a do-or-die game.
"One game lang 'yan. We'll come back strong. Bibigay lang namin 'yung best namin. Part of the game talaga, ganoon talaga," he added.
Bolick acknowledged that they had a bad game, as he shot only 8-of-19 from the field while import Prince Ibeh struggled with foul trouble. They committed 25 turnovers in the game, leading to 27 points for SMB; Bolick was responsible for six of those miscues.
Still, they managed to make it a one-point game midway through the fourth frame, and only ran out of steam in the end.
"Nakahabol pa rin kami," Bolick stressed.
Thus, the rookie remains optimistic heading into the knockout game on Wednesday -- a contest that he considers "just a regular game."
"Bibigay ko lang lahat. Whatever the result, as long as we played our game, we give our best, pag ganoon ang ginagawa namin, usually nananalo kami, so I'll take my chances," he added.
NorthPort, as a team, will "just have to play our game," said Bolick. They already know they can beat San Miguel, having crushed the Beermen 121-88 when they played in the elimination round.
"Confident naman ako sa team namin. Hindi namin ibibigay ng madali 'to, for sure. We will fight, we will have a dogfight next Wednesday. Hindi namin bibigay 'yan," Bolick vowed.
"We worked hard for the second seed, tapos kukunin lang ng ganoon? No. Papakamatay kami."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.