MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia got a big performance from Calvin Abueva in the fourth quarter and clutch free throws from Paul Lee in the dying seconds to get past TNT, 94-92, on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Abueva scored 15 of his 25 points in the payoff while Lee knocked down the winning foul throws with 4.3 seconds left as the Hotshots raised their unbeaten start to 3-0 in the midseason conference.
“Every time we faced TNT it’s always a physical and mental game,” said coach Chito Victolero. “But all we want is a close game and I’m thankful that the players we able to play Magnolia basketball after we struggled in the first half.”
The result, on the other hand, left a bitter taste in the mouth of TNT coach Chot Reyes, who immediately went to the technical committee area and argue the foul whistled on Calvin Oftana that led to Lee’s charities.
Reyes immediately left the dressing room after the postgame prayer, then shouted as he took an angry walk into his car and out of the Big Dome premises.
TNT lost despite Magnolia having to play without an import for the final six minutes after Nick Rakocevic fell down when teammate Jackson Corpuz crashed on his leg.
Rakojevic, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds before the injury, will undergo MRI on Thursday.
The Tropang Giga fell short of coming out with the win despite missing key players such as Jayson Castro, Mikey Williams and Glenn Khobuntin due to injuries.
Center Poy Erram was also out to serve a one-game suspension for his hit on San Miguel Beer’s Mo Tautuaa in Game 7 of the Philippine Cup Finals which TNT.
Import Cameron Oliver put up 43 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in an impressive debut while Oftana, acquired from NLEX in a three-way trade, had 12 points and seven rebounds for his new team.
MAGNOLIA 94 — Abueva 25, Rakocevic 22, Lee 16, Barroca 13, Dionisio 9, Corpuz 5, Mendoza 3, Wong 1, Zaldivar 0, Reavis 0, Jalalon 0.
TNT 92 — Oliver 43, Pogoy 23, Oftana 12, Montalbo 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Marcelo 3, Alejandro 3, Cruz 0, Tungcab 0, K.Williams 0.
Quarters: 26-29, 42-54, 62-73, 94-92.
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