Friday’s 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup games will feature the NLEX Road Warriors against the Blackwater Bossing in the first game, followed by a duel between the NorthPort Batang Pier and the Meralco Bolts.
PBA Friday offers us an intriguing backcourt battle to watch.
Intriguing backcourt battle headlines NorthPort-Meralco game
Two established backcourt stars go up against each other, while a pair of rising guards will try to take their respective games to another level.
NorthPort star Robert Bolick, who is coming off a 33-point performance in a loss against the Bay Area Dragons, is facing the steady Chris Newsome from Meralco. When the two teams last met during the 2022 Philippine Cup, Newsome struggled with his shooting (3-of-18 overall FG, 1-8 3PT), but he did have 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and only one turnover.
Still, that bad shooting game against NorthPort doesn’t encapsulate Newsome’s overall performance last conference. He increased the volume of his three-pointers to 3.8 attempts, while also improving his efficiency to 35.8%. Newsome accumulated an excellent 54.7% True Shooting (44.6/35.8/76.4 shooting splits), which is remarkable for a perimeter player tasked with main ball-handling and scoring duties.
Another Meralco guard to watch is the lefty Aaron Black. From being a prospect and backup guard, Black became Newsome’s main backcourt partner last conference. Black put up career-highs in points (14.6), rebounds (5.1), and assists (4.4), while morning a tremendous 44.9% on his 3.9 attempts from deep. The 25-year-old guard is displaying his all-around repertoire, and it’s interesting to see just how much more he can improve.
On the NorthPort side, Bolick is supported by Roi Sumang’s emergence. The 31-year-old Sumang is not exactly a young gun, but he is carving a niche in the Batang Pier backcourt. His scoring never left, but it is his on-point passing that is attracting attention from the defense.
Of course, we’re also waiting for the debut of Meralco import Johnny O’Bryant III, who can shoot from the outside as well as pound the ball inside the paint. But the backcourt battle between the Batang Pier and the Bolts is also an exciting thing to watch on PBA Friday.