WATCH: Interview with Best Player James Laput [Magnolia vs NLEX | June 3, 2023]

After Mark Barroca’s take-charge action in Magnolia’s down-to-the-wire win over Converge last time, it’s the turn of the shock troopers to lead the way.

With Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva still out, relief big men Jackson Corpuz and James Laput combined for 37 as the Hotshots streaked to their third straight win in the PBA on Tour at the expense of NLEX, 103-97, Saturday night at the Baliwag Star Arena in Baliwag, Bulacan.

Defensive-minded Corpuz showcased his seldom-seen offensive skills in banging in a game-high 19 points spiked by a 3-of-4 three-point shooting. He dropped 12 of his tally in the third quarter as Magnolia seized control with a 30-14 exchange.

Laput, Magnolia’s 6-foot-10 “project,” produced another double-double output of 18 markers and 13 rebounds en route to player of the game honors.

Second stringers Jerrick Ahanmisi (15, all via three-pointers) and Jed Mendoza (eight) also shone in Win No. 3.

Ahanmisi’s fifth trey gave Magnolia a 91-78 cushion going to the last 6:48 while Mendoza’s long bomb with 12 seconds left quashed NLEX’s late uprising for good.

“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.

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