Magnolia stays alive in PBA Governor’s Cup top 4 race

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

March 5, 2023, 12:15 pm

<p>Photo courtesy of PBA Images</p>

Photo courtesy of PBA Images

MANILA – Magnolia stuffed Terrafirma in overtime to score a 121-115 at PhilSports Arena in Pasig Saturday night win to stay alive in the PBA Governors' Cup Top 4 race.

The Hotshots completed a comeback from 15 points down to force a three-way tie with the Meralco Bolts and the Converge FiberXers for fifth place at 6-4, one full game outside the Top 4.

Down 92-107 with 4:36 left in regulation, Magnolia finished the game on an 18-3 run capped by an Antonio Hester layup off an Adrian Wong steal with 11.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Juami Tiongson air-balled a tough fallaway as time ran out on Terrafirma's chance to pull off an upset.

Jordan Williams scored the Dyip's first point of the extension, but the Hotshots responded with eight straight points and never looked back.

Hester dropped 40 points in his first game against his former team, going 15-for-21 from the field, along with 17 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block.

Paul Lee, Calvin Abueva, and Mark Barroca each added 16 points with Abueva also grabbing 17 boards for his own double-double.

Jio Jalalon barely missed out on a triple-double as he contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists with one steal.

Jordan Williams fired 45 points on 15-of-24 shooting, with seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals, but he also committed eight turnovers as Terrafirma bombed out of the quarterfinal race after losing its sixth straight game since a 2-2 start.

In the first game, NorthPort kept its flickering hopes of making the quarterfinals alive after ousting Rain Or Shine from contention with a 113-97 blowout win.

A buzzer-beating three from Kevin Murphy to end the third quarter sparked the Batang Pier's breakaway even as they erupted for 33 points in the fourth to finish off the Elasto Painters.

Murphy finished with 39 points on 13-of-23 shooting including 10-for-12 on threes, 13 rebounds, and five assists, while Paul Zamar added a career-high 20 points with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal for NorthPort, which moved up to 3-7, one game behind Phoenix for eighth place.

Jeff Chan, Robert Bolick, and JM Calma each chipped in 11 points with Calma also grabbing 10 rebounds.

The Batang Pier must hope that the Fuel Masters will fall to Meralco on Sunday night and that they could beat the TNT Tropang Giga on March 15 to force a playoff for the eighth seed.

Santi Santillan put up 17 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal for import-less Rain Or Shine, which first fell to 2-8 before Terrafirma followed suit. (PNA)