“The Beast” in Calvin Abueva has been unleashed as he helped Magnolia fend off a gritty Blackwater side to wrap up the elimination with a 110-95 victory in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Wednesday, March 8.
The Hotshots turned in an impressive third quarter rally that allowed them to build a sizable margin but still had to survive a last-ditch rally in the final frame to deny the also-ran Bossing a graceful exit in the season-ending conference.
Abueva provided boundless energy on both ends of the floor for Magnolia, pumping in 17 of his season-high 27 points in the second half which also went with 13 rebounds. Import Antonio Hester unloaded a stellar double-double of 20 points and 22 rebounds and Russel Escoto sustained his fine play with 17 markers.
Magnolia ended the eliminations with a 7-4 record, keeping its chance for a top four finish although its fate now depends on the results of the remaining games of the teams ahead of it in the standings.
“The energy Calvin gives us the extra energy together with Aris Dionisio, most of the players naman are doing their job. We learned from our mistakes last game. It boils down the effort, lagi naming pinapaalala yan. Without the effort we’ll have a hard time to win,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
“This time, I think we are consistent doon sa effort pero may mga kaunting lapses lang dun sa game but I’m very happy and very proud because they stepped up on this game and lahat nag-contribute,” he added.
That energy Victolero was talking about was particularly felt when the Hotshots unloaded a scintillating 28-10 run in the third frame that turned a slim 57-51 lead into a commanding 24 point lead, 85-61.
Looking for a strong end to their miserable campaign this conference, Baser Amer and Jvee Casio willed the Bossing back into the game with consecutive long bombs early in the fourth quarter to come within six and threaten the Hotshots, 95-89, with 5:52 to go.
That, however, proved to be the closest they could get as baskets from Abueva, Hester and Rome Dela Rosa allowed Magnolia to regain its footing and notch the win.
Shawn Glover led the way for Blackwater with 22 points while Casio and Amer added 20 and 16 points respectively. Their efforts proved to be futile in the end as they couldn’t help the Bossing snap a nine-game losing streak to finish the season with a 1-10 record.
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