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DAZZLING DEBUT — Aussie import powers NorthPort past Terrafirma

‘They’re really part of the rotation.’

Import Venkatesha Jois and NorthPort barrel their way past Kemark Carino and Terrafirma, 108-103, in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup game Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. | Photograph courtesy of PBA

Australian Venkatesha Jois, the shortest import in the Philippine Basketball Association Comissioner’s Cup, stood tall in his debut yesterday, banging in 43 points in NorthPort’s 108-103 victory over Terrafirma at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Measured by the league just a shade below 6-5, Jois also hauled down 10 rebounds, posted three feeds and picked up three steals and a block in an all-around showing.

His 43-point production was the second-highest by an import since Nick Racocevic’s 45-point explosion in his first game with Magnolia last season.

While it was the 30-year-old Jois who lit up the scoreboard for the Batang Pier, the team’s rookies also did their share in the big win.

The 6-foot-5 Cade Flores came a point away from completing a double-double performance while Fran Yu, Brent Paraiso and John Amores did a little bit of everything offensively and defensively.

Flores, who starred for Arellano in college, ended up with nine points on top of 12 rebounds as his presence on both ends of the court gave the Batang Pier flexibility.

“They’re really part of the rotation,” said NorthPort coach Bonnie Tan, referring to the squad’s newest acquisitions.

“Having three rookies finishing the game is like the changing of the guards. The word struggle is not acceptable for them because they’ve been together for a long time as well,” added Tan, who is eagerly awaiting the return of star guard Robert Bolick.

Meanwhile, action in the Commissioner’s Cup goes to the Ynares Center in Antipolo as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gets back in uniform when TNT Tropang Giga faces Converge in the main game of a double-header at 6:15 p.m.

Hollis-Jefferson missed the team’s first game due to gastroenteritis and acid reflux and will take over his spot as the Tropang Giga’s resident import replacing Quincy Miller, his partner in the East Asia Super League.

The reigning Governors’ Cup Best Import will not only be the newest player when the Tropang Giga battle the FiberXers as guard Mike Tolomia, activated by TNT on Friday, will also see action.

Both the Tropang Giga and the FiberXers lost their respective first encounters and will try to crack into the win column at each other’s expense.

Blackwater and Meralco, two teams with successful debut games, clash in the first game at 3 p.m.

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