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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: Paul Lee leads Magnolia past Blackwater, inches closer to 1,000 career three-pointers

Paul Lee inched closer to achieving another personal milestone as Magnolia got past the hungry Blackwater, 81-77, for their third straight win in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup, Wednesday night at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The star gunner finished with 10 points in the win that saw him nail a trey, moving a shot away from registering his 1,000th career triple as he helped the Hotshots’ third-quarter reversal to stay ahead the rest of the way.

But it was his free throws with 6.1 seconds left to play that ultimately enabled the crew to escape after the Bossing fought back from 17 points down and got to within five, 79-74, behind rookie guard James Kwekuteye.

Now Magnolia has improved to 4-2 following the victory, going up at no. 3 in the team standings behind San Miguel Beer (5-0) and NLEX (5-2).

“I think our competitiveness and our effort; our aggressiveness on both ends of the floor,” offered head coach Chito Victolero when asked what has been the key for his charges in the turnaround from a 1-2 start into the tourney.

Mark Barroca, still not a hundred percent due to a wrist injury, top-scored for the Hotshots with 19 points, alongside five rebounds and three assists as he went on to earn Player of the Game honors for the second time in a row.

“Yung motivation lang, siyempre as a leader, papakita ko sa team na kaya kong mag-compete kahit mayroon akong nararamdaman. As a leader, syempre kailangan ko ipakita sa team para madala mo sila,” said the 37-year-old.

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Calvin Abueva delivered a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds as the ‘Beast’ joined hands with Lee and Jalalon for the crucial 12-0 run to end the third chapter in their favor, 56-45, and take the lead for good.

Ian Sangalang also chipped in 10 points off the bench as the lefty slotman played a role in warding off Blackwater’s late-game comeback attempt.

Magnolia will be heading to Quezon to take on Rain or Shine, which is in the midst of a five-game winning streak after a 0-4 start, on Saturday, April 20, at the Tiaong Convention Center. Game time is set at 6:15 p.m.

“They are the hottest team. They play very, very well. Grabe yung nilalaro nila ngayon. We just need to prepare hard physically and mentally because parehas naman to eh, naglaro sila kanina, naglaro kami ngayon,” Victolero said.

Kwekuteye, on the other hand, had a season-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting along with three rebounds and four assists to lead the struggling Bossing, which absorbed their fifth successive defeat and fell to 3-5.

Wasted by the loss as well was the all-around effort of Troy Rosario, who had 20 points, four rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a block.

Blackwater will try to end its skid against NorthPort on April 27, Saturday, 3 p.m. in another PBA game to be held at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

The Scores:

Magnolia 81 – Barroca 19, Sangalang 10, Abueva 10, Lee 10, Laput 9, Dionisio 7, Jalalon 7, Eriobu 4, Tratter 2, Mendoza 0, Balanza 0, Ahanmisi 0.

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Blackwater 77 – Kwekuteye 23, Rosario 20, Nambatac 9, Ilagan 7, David 7, Guinto 6, Hill 2, Jopia 2, Chua 1, Escoto 0, Suerte 0, Tungcab 0, Casio 0.

Quarterscores: 17-20, 34-34, 56-45, 81-77.

Written By

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

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