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Northport Rookies Bond Through Friendly Rivalry in PBA

MANILA, Philippines—Familiarity breeds contempt but that wasn’t the case for Northport’s newest set of young rookies in the PBA.

After going on numerous battles in last year’s NCAA Season 98 tournament, Letran’s Fran Yu and Brent Paraiso, Arellano’s Cade Flores and Jose Rizal University’s John Amores now share the same jersey for Batang Pier.

So when they all met for the team’s first practice, the quartet threw jokes around each other in the name of good and lighthearted banter.

“Oh, it was nothing much when they came to practice, we just laughed and talked it out,” shared Yu in Filipino.

“We told them, ‘oh, we beat you,’ or ‘hey, he beat you,’ just light insults but the bond was automatically there because we all already battled in college,” added the Letran product.

Their newfound bond was certainly of big help for Batang Pier as they squeaked past Terrafirma, 108-103, to begin their bid for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

To add to the rookies’ familiarity with the team, top coach Bonnie Tan was the shot caller for the Knights last season before formally taking the post as Northport’s head tactician.

With that, it wasn’t surprising that Tan used all his new guns efficiently, with everyone getting minutes.

“They’re really a part of the rotation so I mentioned to my coaches in the endgame that we should have three rookies inside the court finishing the game,” explained the long-time Letran mentor.

Cade Flores had the best outing compared to his NCAA brethren with a near double-double to the tune of nine points and 12 rebounds.

The guard tandem from Intramuros, Yu and Paraiso, finished with five points each, making the most of their 20-minute exposures.

Amores only had three markers in the victory but was fielded for over eight minutes.

Up next for the young Northport squad is Rain or Shine, which narrowly lost its season-opener against Meralco, on Sunday at Ynares Center, Antipolo.