PBA: Qualls says NorthPort needs to go back to being the underdog

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 17, 2019 10:08 AM
Qualls says NorthPort needs to go back to being the underdog
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

NorthPort needed to topple the playoffs top-seed just to get to the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.

And once there, they even kept surprising with a 34-point rout of favored Ginebra in Game 1 of their best-of-five series.

Come Game 2, though, the Gin Kings restored order and handed the Batang Pier their own 35-point beatdown.

And the crowd favorites were able to do that all because they knew they were behind and they played like it. "They were just hungrier than we were. Everybody on their team played well and they outhustled us," Michael Qualls, NorthPort's American reinforcement, said post-game.

And for Qualls, that could not happen again if he and the rest of the eight-seeded squad are to upset Ginebra. "NorthPort, we're the underdogs. We're supposed to be the team that outhustles the other team because when they have that on their side, it's tough to beat them," he said.

He then continued, "We got to be the enforcers. If anything, we want to dictate the tempo."

Of course, the 6-foot-4 super scorer knows full well that mindset has to begin with him. As he put it, after still getting 20 points, but shooting 8-of-26 from the field, "I just got to hit my open shots. I was getting wide open shots so I just got to make them because the team depends on me to score."

He then continued, "I have to score the ball to put us in a better situation and everybody else will follow suit. I just got to be a leader."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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