Young guns stepped up as Magnolia escaped NLEX, 103-97, to stay unbeaten in the PBA On Tour, Saturday at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.
Jed Mendoza nailed the dagger triple with 12.4 seconds left, effectively killing the Road Warriors’ comeback hopes as they managed to cut the deficit to three, 97-100, after being down by 12 with less than five minutes to go in the fourth.
Formerly of the Purefoods 3×3 team, Mendoza finished with a full line of eight points, five rebounds, an assist, three steals, and a block.
His shot not only saved the team but also the efforts of James Laput, who broke out and finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks as he continued to display his progress in the ongoing preseason tourney.
By surviving another tight encounter, Magnolia collected its third win in as many games while keeping NLEX in search of a victory across three matches as well.
Top-scoring for the Hotshots was Jackson Corpuz with a game-high 19 points, 12 of which he scored in the third quarter alone as he presided over his side’s 30-point eruption in the said period to take the lead for good.
Veterans Paul Lee and Rome Dela Rosa, on the other hand, finished with 12 points apiece in the triumph, where the team dished 26 assists.
Next up for Magnolia will be Ginebra in a preseason Clasico duel on June 11, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Meanwhile, NLEX was led by new guy Ben Adamos with 18 points, wasting no time showing his wares after reuniting with college mentor Frankie Lim.
Don Trollano and Kevin Alas, who’s back after being placed under health and safety protocols, had 15 points each. Jake Pascual had 14 points while aspirant Dominick Fajardo added 12 markers and nine boards in the defeat.
The Road Warriors will look to break through against Phoenix Super LPG on June 9, Friday, 7:30 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Magnolia 103 – Corpuz 19, Laput 18, Ahanmisi 15, Dela Rosa 12, Lee 11, Mendoza 8, Eriobu 7, Barroca 6, Jalalon 6, Tratter 0, Murrell 0.
NLEX 97 – Adamos 18, Trollano 15, Alas 15, Pascual 14, Fajardo 12, Rosales 8, Galanza 7, Doliguez 5, Miranda 3.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 45-53, 75-67, 103-97