Photo from PBA

Arwind Santos admitted that NorthPort’s 0-4 start in the PBA Governors’ Cup is a cause for alarm but remains hopeful that his new team can snatch a top eight finish later in the eliminations.

The Batang Pier were groomed to be among the top contenders in the season-ending conference following the addition of Santos plus the superb campaigns of Robert Bolick and Greg Slaughter in the Philippine Cup.

But NorthPort fell short in tight encounters with Alaska, NLEX and San Miguel Beer by an average margin of 3.3 points before losing by 26 to defending champion Barangay Ginebra before the break.

NorthPort also played its previous two games without import Cameron Forte, who the team said was nursing a knee injury.

“Sobrang nakakaalarma kasi di naman tayo sanay din sa ganitong sitwasyon,” said Santos, who has had his share of early struggles during his 12-year stint with San Miguel. “Nangyari din sa San Miguel na 0-3 pero nakakabawi.”

Despite his concern, Santos is not losing hope with NorthPort still less than halfway into the conference.

Though five of the next seven games are against teams with at least a .500 winning percentage, NorthPort can still give itself a strong chance of getting a win if some of its defeats were an indication.

NorthPort came back from double-digit deficits against Alaska and NLEX, only to encounter bad breaks in the end.

Bolick is also picking up where he left off last conference with averages of 20.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists while Santos has posted 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks.

NorthPort reportedly has also tapped Jamel Artis, who had a short stint in the NBA and the G-League before suiting up in France, Lithuania and Greece, to replace Forte.

“Goal namin kahit makapasok sa top eight at malabanan namin yung twice-to-beat na No. 1, dun may chance kami,” he continued. “Yun din nakakatakot sa NorthPort, minsan ikaw No. 1 at makakalaban mo NorthPort, di ka pa rin papasigurado.

“So meron ganun ang NorthPort, lalo na kung nandito ako dahil di natin masabi makuha namin yun, at least may pag-asa kesa yung ma-out kami at di kami makapasok sa top eight. Wala kami magagawa pag ganun.

“Pero long process din kasi, di kaagad-agad maaadapt namin yung sistema ni Coach Pido tas walang import. Marami pa kasi kailangan iimprove talaga ang NorthPort at hindi ganun kabilis, lalo na dikit na dikit ang laro. Pero may mga nakikita akong magandang result kahit paano.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (