Calvin Abueva buried the game-winning basket in the final two seconds to complete Magnolia’s comeback from 17 down against NorthPort, 90-89, in a tense win that also sent the Hotshots to the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Abueva found himself open underneath the basket and hit the short stab to off the timeout to lift the Hotshots, who crawled back from that huge first quarter hole to improve to 7-3 and remain in contention for one of two coveted twice-to-beat berths.
The game-winner also negated a big play in the previous possession from Kevin Ferrer, who hit a driving layup and drew the foul off of a broken set to put the Batang Pier ahead by one, 89-88, with 3.9 seconds left.
Ferrer, however, missed the free throw and left the door open for Magnolia, who drew the play off the timeout to steal the win.
“That was a designed play, a back screen to Calvin,” coach Chito Victolero said after the game. “If it wasn’t available, Paul [Lee] was our next option. Good thing we were able to execute. Huge thanks also to Rome (dela Rosa) for having the courage and the heart to throw it to Calvin.”
Abueva finished with 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting to go with five rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks off the bench for Magnolia.
Ian Sangalang led the charge for the Hotshots by posting 26 points, 10 boards, two dimes and a block before fouling out late, while Lee bucked another cold shooting night (5-for-16) to finish with 13, five assists, three rebounds and a steal.