2:00 p.m.– Meralco vs Blackwater
4:35 p.m.– TNT Tropang Giga vs Alaska
Calvin Abueva drilled the quarterfinal-clinching shot as Magnolia escaped with a thrilling 90-89 win against NorthPort in the 46th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Abueva sank a contested jumper off an inbound pass from Rome dela Rosa with only two seconds left to punch the Hotshots’ quarterfinals ticket and deliver Magnolia’s seventh win in 10 games.
The Hotshots joined league-leader TNT Tropang Giga in the quarters cast.
The 33-year old hometown hero finished with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while fellow Kapampangan Ian Sangalang posted a double-double with game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul Lee tossed in 13 markers while Mark Barroca and Rome dela Rosa got 10 markers each.
Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero was nothing but impressed as his wards handled the pressure and perfectly executed their game plan with only 2.6 seconds left to play.
“That’s a designed play, a back straight to Calvin, an alley-oop. Then our next option was Paul,” Victolero said.
“That’s our goal today, we talked about our focus and what’s at stake in this game. This is our chance to go to the quarters.”
Taking a slim 87-86 advantage with only 39 seconds left to play, the Hotshots were almost doomed as Paul Lee missed a technical free throw, allowing Kevin Ferrer to give NorthPort the lead 89-88 with only three seconds remaining.
Magnolia caught a lucky break as Ferrer missed the charity which gave Victolero and his wards the chance to map out their final course of action and let Abueva hit the dagger in the end game.
Greg Slaughter had a team-high 21 points, eight boards and five blocks for the Batang Pier, who absorbed their second straight loss and slipped to 4-5 in the standings.
Still, Victolero said their mission is not yet over as they hope to make it into the top two and grab the potential twice-to-beat advantage in their final game against San Miguel Beer on Sunday.
“We only have one game left on Sunday against San Miguel. We’ll try to prepare for them tomorrow,” Victolero added.
“We have a chance to take the number two spot, that’s why we challenged ourselves to get this W (win).”
MAGNOLIA (90) – Sangalang 26, Abueva 15, Lee 13, Barroca 10, Dela Rosa 10, Ahanmisi 8, Dionisio 6, Jalalon 2, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0
NORTHPORT (89) – Slaughter 21, Anthony 16, Malonzo 14, Taha 14, Bolick 10, Onwubere 4, Lanete 4, Balanza 2, Rike 2, Ferrer 2
Quarters: 12-26, 44-47, 68-67, 90-89