Magnolia Pambansang Manok came back from a 16-point deficit and stayed alive in the extension courtesy of an unlikely hero before taking down NLEX in the second overtime for a 112-105 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Backup big man Aris Dionisio, who is in his second season in the league, hit a game-tying three with 1.3 seconds left in the first overtime before Ian Sangalang scored six in the second five-minute period to seal the Hotshots’ incredible comeback that halted the Road Warriors’ winning streak at three.
Coach Chito Victolero lauded his team for refusing to lose after NLEX built a double-digit lead in the third quarter and went up 87-71 early in the fourth.
“Yung talo namin sa Meralco, bawing-bawi na,” said Victolero, referring to last week’s heartbreaking 95-94 loss to Meralco when Magnolia blew a 13-point lead with exactly two minutes left in the game.
Calvin Abueva registered his fourth double-double of the conference with 23 points and 12 rebounds as Magnolia climbed to solo second at 6-2.
Dionisio scored 11, including a three off JR Quinahan’s foul with 1.3 seconds left in the first overtime that knotted the count at 104-all.
Dionisio muffed the bonus free throw and a follow-up attempt at the buzzer, but Sangalang took matters into his own hands in the second overtime on his way to 21 points and eight rebounds.
Back-to-back baskets by Sangalang put Magnolia ahead 108-104 as NLEX went cold by missing all of its eight shots in the second five-minute period.
Jericho Cruz was one of four NLEX players in double figures with 21 points but his team fell outside of the top four after falling to 4-3.
Cruz along with Don Trollano, Kris Porter and Michael Miranda led a third quarter surge that came after NLEX led 49-45 at halftime following a tight first half.
Tony Semerad, back after missing the first two games in Bacolor after his wife gave birth, made it 87-71 with a triple before Magnolia but made a 20-3 fightback highlighted by back-to-back threes by Paul Lee and the go-ahead basket by Sangalang for 91-90 with three minutes left in regulation.
“It’s all about grit and determination,” Victolero said. “We just tried to be composed. Ang sabi ko lang sa kanila let’s just try to limit our turnovers and at the same time, mababa lang namin yung lead to single digits.”
MAGNOLIA 112 — Abueva 23, Sangalang 21, Lee 18, Barroca 13, Dionisio 11, Corpuz 9, Ahanmisi 6, Jalalon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 2, Reavis 1, Brill 0.
NLEX 105 — Cruz 21, Trollano 15, Quinahan 14, Semerad 12, Miranda 8, Alas 9, Porter 13, Soyud 7, Oftana 3, Paniamogan 3, Ayonayon 0
Quarters: 29-26, 45-49, 71-84, 94-94 (Reg.), 104-104 (1OT), 112-105 (2OT).