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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: Hester bane to ex-team as Magnolia frustrates Terrafirma with 15-point comeback

Magnolia came from behind and frustrated an upset-hungry Terrafirma in overtime, 121-115, to remain in the hunt for a coveted Top Four finish in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Hotshots outscored the Dyip 11-4 in the extra period to complete the fightback after trailing by 15 points, 107-92, with 4:20 left in regulation, in the process garnering their second win in a row to improve to 6-4.

“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na that is the chance, we need to grab that chance because binigay na sa amin eh. Kung hindi pa namin ‘yun sasamantalahin, mahihirapan talaga kami,” said head coach Chito Victolero.

“I think they’re veteran enough to know the situation, and I think we executed very well in the last five minutes,” added the champion mentor.

Antonio Hester proved to be the bane to his former team as he led Magnolia with 40 points and 17 rebounds, scoring 15 in the fourth quarter alone that saw him help out in a rousing 18-3 run to send the game into OT.

The said rally was sparked by Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon but Hester would nail the last four points to make it 110-all with 11.3 seconds left to end the possession they got following Adrian Wong’s steal prior.

“I waited for the big run eh. Actually that happened in the last two minutes eh. Hindi kami talaga naggi-give up e. ‘Yung mga players ko, hindi naggi-give up since pa nung nagumpisa ako. That’s our mantra,” said Victolero.

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Calvin Abueva also came through with a big double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds as the two-time BPC is now just eight points away from becoming the 96th member of the league’s 5,000-point club.

Paul Lee and Mark Barroca also scored 16 apiece while Jio Jalalon supplied 13 markers, nine boards, and nine assists to flirt with a triple-double.

“Taking it one possession at a time, like we always talked about. Just weathering the storm, standing together, you know, making sure that we got each other’s back the whole time. That’s pretty much it,” Hester said.

With the win, Magnolia pulled even again with Meralco at fifth in the team standings, with a chance to catch up with at least three teams in the Top Four in San Miguel (7-2), Barangay Ginebra (6-2) and NLEX (7-3).

The Hotshots will look to finish with a 7-4 card against another skidding team in Blackwater on Wednesday, March 8, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

“Sana, magkaroon kami ng chance kasi this is a big chance doon sa tinatarget namin,” said Victolero. “At least may opportunity pa kami to go to the Top Four. We need to prepare for another important game on Wednesday.”

Terrafirma (2-8), on the other hand, has formally bowed out of contention with the loss, missing the playoffs for the 15th consecutive conference.

Put to naught by the collapse was the 45-point outing of Jordan Williams, who led the Dyip’s fourth-quarter blitz by scoring the first seven of a 13-2 run for the 15-point lead — only to blow it and fall to their sixth defeat in a row.

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Juami Tiongson supplied 19 points, Eric Camson had 11 points and nine rebounds, while Alex Cabagnot added 10 markers.

The Scores:

Magnolia 121 – Hester 40, Lee 16, Abueva 16, Barroca 15, Jalalon 13, Dionisio 8, Wong 6, Dela Rosa 3, Corpuz 3, Escoto 0, Reavis 0, Laput 0, Mendoza 0.

Terrafirma 115 – J.Williams 45, Tiongson 19, Camson 11, Cabagnot 10, Ferrer 8, Daquioag 7, Cahilig 5, Gabayni 4, Alolino 2, Calvo 2, Ramos 0.

Quarterscores: 28-26, 51-50, 74-85, 110-110, 121-115 (OT).

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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