Northport import Kevin Murphy. –PBA IMAGES

Northport import Kevin Murphy. –PBA IMAGES

Northport import Kevin Murphy. –PBA IMAGES

NorthPort is clinging to optimism as it navigates the remainder of its PBA Governors’ Cup.

“We’re now upwards,” coach Bonnie Tan told the Inquirer in Filipino shortly after the Batang Pier squeaked past Blackwater, 110-104, on Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

“We’re just glad that we’re moving in this direction even if it feels a little late,” he went on.

Kevin Murphy was easily the biggest reason for NorthPort’s continued survival that night, finishing with 47 points and 16 rebounds.

Robert Bolick was just as commendable in the contest. Playing only his fourth game this conference, the spitfire guard scattered 24 points that went with seven rebounds.

NorthPort remains in the running for the race for the last five playoff spots.

“If you recall, we all got to work only on Jan. 8. Kevin came in a bit late and it’s only just now that Robert and the others are getting back to shape. So we really didn’t have much of a choice,” said Tan, who replaced Pido Jarencio earlier this year.

“You know, I’ll always pick this (predicament) over us losing more games and turning into a resentful group by the end of the season,” he added.

Blackwater drew 20 points from import Shawn Glover, while Gab Banal, Jvee Casio, and Mike Ayonayon chipped in twin-digit scores.

However, that balanced attack wasn’t able to save the club from suffering its eighth loss in nine meetings. Blackwater is officially out of playoff contention.

With three more games to spare, Tan is hoping that the players’ familiarity with each other and with his system would pave the way for a coup.

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