Calvin Abueva knocked in 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magnolia Hotshots Timplados to an 80-77 triumph over the NorthPort Batang Pier on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
It was a close encounter, with the Timplados banking on a triple from Rome de la Rosa in the last six seconds to send Magnolia to their first win in three outings.
Coach Chito Victolero said the Timplados played with consistency in two previous matches, which were also tight in the final minutes, and lost, but his players made a difference this time around.
“We had that discipline and character that we want. And good this happened at the start of the season. And I hope that my players, even if we had a tough week, will have that mental toughness,” said Victolero.
The Timplados, who are seeking to recover from the setback that they suffered at the hands of the TNT Tropang Giga and Converge Fiber Xers, kept possession of the ball in the final 2.3 seconds after Jio Jalalon rebounded the ball off a missed three-point attempt from Arwind Santos.
Santos showed the way for the Batang Pier with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Roi Sumang and Jerrick Balanza added 15 points each.
Sumang’s trey with 2:17 left allowed Batang Pier to threaten, 74-75, before another triple from Robert Bolick put NorthPort ahead for the last time, 77-75, in the 53-second mark.
Then, Abueva’s layup with 39 seconds remaining gave the game its sixth and final tie at 77-all, before Dela Rosa made the go-ahead triple for the final tally.
The Hotshot will clash with the San Miguel Beermen on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.