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NorthPort coach lauds rookies for stepping up in import's absence

MANILA, Philippines -- With the NorthPort Batang Pier missing their import Venky Jois, they needed every help they could get.

The do-it-all center is averaging 28.2 points, 15.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game so far in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.

With a big hole in the middle, NorthPort had to find an answer for Ivan Aska and the depleted San Miguel Beermen.

The young guys heeded the call.

NorthPort head coach Bonnie Tan lauded his locals, especially the team’s rookies, for the huge win over the perennial contenders.

Rookies Brent Paraiso, Fran Yu, John Amores and Cade Flores stepped up big for the Batang Pier.

The four contributed 11, eight, six and 15 points, respectively. They also hit big shots as they buried the Beermen under a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

“I was happy with my local players, especially our rookies. They stayed consistent in our last three games,” Tan told reporters after the game.

“We are just lucky that the opponent is depleted, and their free throw shooting was also a bit off,” he added.

Arvin Tolentino, who led NorthPort in scoring, said he reminded the young guys to step up and play their game.

“I try to encourage them every time. When you’re a rookie, you are a bit hesitant. I always tell them just to be confident,” Tolentino, who had 28 points off the bench, said.

“I just told them to be confident, just shoot your shot and do whatever you can do on the court, and defend,” he added.

The Batang Pier are currently holding a 5-2 win-loss slate.

They will try to continue their winning ways when they face the Meralco Bolts on Sunday, December 10, at the Philsports Arena.