PBA: Abueva hits game winner as Magnolia books playoff spot

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) – Calvin Abueva delivered the game-winning basket from the paint as time expired to lead Magnolia to a comeback win over NorthPort, 90-89, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Abueva muscled past NorthPort defender Kevin Ferrer underneath the basket to hit the game winner off a Rome dela Rosa inbound pass, after Magnolia called for a timeout with two seconds remaining in the game.

The Magnolia victory, which improved their slate to 7-3, assured them of at least a quarterfinals berth in the playoffs.

"That's our goal today. This is our chance to go to the quarters and we may have a chance to take the no. 2 spot. We challenged ourselves to get this win," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero, whose team occupies solo third in the standings.

Ian Sangalang led the Hotshots' comeback with double-double numbers of 26 points and 10 rebounds while Abueva backed him up with 15 points and four steals.

NorthPort tallied its biggest lead of the game with 17 points in the first quarter, 26-9, as they looked poise for an upset win.

But the Hotshots had scoring runs in the second and third quarters to steal the lead after 36 minutes of action, 68-67.

Both squads exchanged leads in the final minute of the game as Sangalang made crucial shots, before Abueva buried the game-winner.

Greg Slaughter topscored for the Batang Pier with 21 points and eight boards while team captain Sean Anthony added 16 markers, as the squad fell to a 4-5 record.

NorthPort dropped its second straight game after posting a 3-0 record in the league restart.

The Scores:

MAGNOLIA 90 – Sangalang 26, Abueva 15, Lee 13, Barroca 10, Dela Rosa 10, Ahanmisi 8, Dionisio 6, Jalalon 2, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0

NORTHPORT 89 – Slaughter 21, Anthony 16, Malonzo 14, Taha 14, Bolick 10, Onwubere 4, Lanete 4, Balanza 2, Rike 2, Ferrer 2

Quarterscores: 12-26, 44-47, 68-67, 90-89