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Batang Pier prepared to pass their first tough test as they prime up

NorthPort’s 2-0 start in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup may look like a rarity given its status as a middle-of-the-pack team at best. But Sunday’s 113-103 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at Ynares Center here marked the first since last season’s Philippine Cup that the Batang Pier have started this way.

The Batang Pier, however, will have their first big test of the season-opening tourney on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum against the Magnolia Hotshots, who were playing the Phoenix Fuel Masters at presstime.

For NorthPort to avoid a similar nightmare, it will need Tolentino to sustain his strong early-season form and for import Venky Jois to once again produce impressive numbers like the 30 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists he had against Rain or Shine.

Joshua Munzon is another reason for NorthPort’s early success as the former No. 1 draft pick posted 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. The former Terrafirma mainstay struggled during the latter part of the previous season after being acquired in a trade. Also key were sophomore center JM Calma and rookie Cade Flores, who has brought energy through two games of his young PBA career.

Import DaJuan Summers scored 32 points, but the Elasto Painters fell short despite another comeback attempt in the fourth. INQ