Beermen, Hotshots book PBA quarterfinal seats
MANILA – Magnolia and San Miguel scored contrasting wins at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday to book slots in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
The Hotshots needed a Calvin Abueva buzzer-beater to eke out a 90-89 squeaker over the NorthPort Batang Pier.
Abueva muscled his way inside the paint against the NorthPort defense for a layup that completed Magnolia’s comeback from 17 points down late in the first quarter.
Ian Sangalang led the now 7-3 Hotshots with 26 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and a block.
Abueva added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals, and two blocks off the bench.
“That’s a designed play, a backscreen to Calvin ala-alley-oop. And then kung wala iyon (if it wasn’t possible) next option is Paul,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said in a news release. “That was our goal today. We talked about our focus, at the same time what’s at stake in this game.”
Greg Slaughter tallied 21 points and eight rebounds in his return after a two-game absence due to skin infection, but the comeback was spoiled as the Batang Pier fell into a tie with Barangay Ginebra for eighth place at 4-5.
Ginebra was playing Alaska as of posting time.
Meanwhile, the Beermen pulled away late in the second quarter and stifled the Phoenix Fuel Masters for a 110-80 rout.
CJ Perez led SMB, which rose to 6-3, with 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists off the bench.
Mo Tautuaa added 19 points, six rebounds, and one assist off the bench as well.
June Mar Fajardo quickly imposed his will inside early on and finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds with one block.
The Beermen are a half-game behind the Hotshots for third place ahead of their clash on Sunday even as they look to dislodge the Meralco Bolts from second spot with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals on the line.
Meralco clinched a quarterfinal spot, too, along with Rain Or Shine after Magnolia’s win.
Jason Perkins tallied 18 points and nine rebounds while Matthew Wright chipped in 10 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists for Phoenix, which finished its elimination round stint at 4-7.
It will wait for the results of the remaining games to determine if it will get a shot at making the quarterfinals through the wildcard phase.