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Magnolia takes share of lead



Games on Wednesday

(Ynares Sports Arena)

12:30 p.m. — San Miguel vs Blackwater

3 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs Alaska

6 p.m. — Phoenix vs Meralco

Magnolia relied on the heroics of Calvin Abueva all-game long to turn back Ginebra, 89-79 and remain unbeaten in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena on Sunday.

Abueva finished with 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Hotshots and was a pivotal factor in their endgame run against the Gin Kings.

Paul Lee, meantime, led Magnolia with 22 points while Ian Sangalang added 17 points.

Up by just four at the half, Magnolia erupted in the third quarter, opening the period with an 11-2 run to build a comfortable margin, 57-44.

Abueva then gave the team a lift, scoring eight of the Hotshots’ last 10 points in the third as they maintained a double-digit lead, 67-56, heading into the fourth period.

However, the Gin Kings were able to claw their way back in the game, cutting the deficit to eight, 75-67 and even managed to go at arms’ length, 79-77 with 3:36 remaining in the game.

But Lee responded with four straight points of his own and he and Mark Barroca hit some free throws down the stretch to ensure Magnolia walked away with the hard-fought victory.

Meanwhile, San Miguel survived a late scare as Arwind Santos sank a game-winner against Northport, 88-86.

The 40-year old Santos came up with a vintage performance, giving the Beermen the win with two seconds left amid a furious rally built around returning big man Greg Slaughter.

The 6-11 Slaughter who banged in a game-high 23 points and 17 rebounds in his first game since being acquired from Ginebra in exchange for Christian Standhardinger during the off-season.

CJ Perez led the way for San Miguel with 18 points, eight boards, five steals and two feeds while Santos chipped in 17, five boards and three blocks as San Miguel improved to 2-1.

Alex Cabagnot added 16 markers, seven assists and three steals and big man Mo Tautuaa added 11 points in a balanced attack for San Miguel.

Head coach Leo Austria admitted it was an “ugly win” and the veterans simply stepped up to the plate.

“At least our veterans stepped up and that’s what I’ve been expecting from them,” Austria said.

“We are happy that we snatched this game. This could give us some momentum going into the next three games.”

Enjoying a 79-63 advantage after the third quarter, San Miguel found itself in panic mode as the Batang Pier levelled the count at 86 with seven ticks to go behind Robert Bolick.

It was at this time when Santos settled the issue after a pass from Marcio Lassiter.

“I hope that this momentum of ours will finally continue, because we will face two big teams after Wednesday,” Austria added.