Magnolia recovered just in time and pulled of a 103-97 victory over NLEX, Saturday in the 2023 PBA on Tour at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.
Jackson Corpuz scattered 19 points while Jed Mendoza drained the dagger triple as the Hotshots improved to a perfect 3-0 in the preseason tournament while the Road Warriors went the opposite direction and fell to 0-3.
Mendoza’s clutch three-pointer came after Kevin Alas trimmed Magnolia’s lead down to just 3, 100-97, on a booming triple with 31 seconds left on the game clock. The Road Warriors trailed by as much as 12 in the payoff period, 84-96, after a trey by Joseph Eriobu in the 5:27 mark.
Reserve big man James Laput was named as the Best Player after he came through with a double-double performance of 18 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 Fil-Australian also contributed 4 assists and 2 steals in 33 minutes of action.
“Si coach Chito (Victolero) is a really great players’ coach. He sees that we’re putting in the efforts day in and day out and he’s giving us the chance,” said Laput during the post-game interview.
Jerrick Ahanmisi added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc while Rome dela Rosa and Paul Lee chipped in 12 markers apiece. Mendoza finished with 8 points, 5 boards, 1 assist, 3 steals and a block.
Ben Adamos, who was acquired just recently from Phoenix in exchange for Tzaddy Rangel and Reden Celda, paced NLEX with 18 points while Don Trollano and Alas added 15 each.
The Hotshots will take a week off and return to action on Sunday, June 11, 7:30pm, against Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.