MANILA – Magnolia Hotshots banked on a hot fourth quarter from Calvin Abueva and clutch free throws from Paul Lee to beat TNT Tropang Giga, 94-92, in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Hotshots somehow avenged their Philippine Cup semifinal defeat to the Tropang Giga, but it was not without some drama.
Magnolia had to play all-Filipino the rest of the way after Nico Rakocevic hurt his knee when a teammate bumped into it after making a shot.
However, Abueva, already saddled with five fouls, was already taking over the team by that time, and he eventually gave the team the lead, 92-90, with a floater with 32 seconds left.
Cameron Oliver answered with a putback off his own miss to force a 92-all deadlock with 26.4 seconds remaining.
Lee eventually won it for the Hotshots after draining two free throws off a Calvin Oftana foul with 4.3 seconds left.
The Tropang Giga tried to steal the game, but the Hotshots' swarming defense on Kib Montalbo forced him to pass the ball mid-air, but time already ran out on them when he made the pass.
Abueva finished with 25 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block for Magnolia, which moved up to 3-0.
Rakocevic added 22 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal.
Reyes riled up
After the game, however, coach Chot Reyes stormed into the technical committee to get an explanation for the Oftana foul.
Oftana was thought to have fouled Lee when he tried to swipe the ball out of him while going for a floater, but Reyes believes there was no foul there.
Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro immediately pacified Reyes and escorted him back to the Tropang Giga's dugout, but after their post-game huddle, Reyes quickly made his way for the exits. (PNA)