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Magnolia needs 2 OTs to complete comeback vs. NLEX

Calvin Abueva posted his fourth double-double of the season. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Just when NLEX thought it has already secured its fourth straight win after opening a huge lead, Magnolia crawled back and, after two overtime sessions, snatched the victory.

The Hotshots, despite needing 10 more minutes to finally seal it, snapped the Road Warriors' three-game winning streak with a huge 112-105 win in their PBA Philippine Cup game at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Wednesday.

Magnolia came back from 17 points down by smothering NLEX early in the fourth quarter and even taking a 93-90 lead with two and a half minutes left in regulation.

The Hotshots, however, could not close out the Road Warriors in the first 48 minutes as back-to-back baskets put the latter back up, 94-93, with 1:07 to go in the fourth period.

Magnolia had a crack to regain the lead after Mike Miranda fouled Paul Lee with exactly a minute remaining, but Lee could only make a split from the foul line even as both teams failed to score within the final 60 seconds of the regulation, leading to the first extension.

Calvin Abueva then took over in the first overtime period to keep the team afloat only for NLEX to come close again to survive Magnolia's late onslaught through back-to-back field goals for a 103-99 lead with 18 seconds remaining.

But Don Trollano fouled Lee with 13 seconds remaining, and Lee finally made both his charities to cut the lead down to two, 103-101.

Jericho Cruz, who was quickly fouled with 10 seconds to go, had a chance to seal the win formally for the Road Warriors, but he only made the second of his two free throws, giving the Hotshots a chance to extend the game further.

Aris Dionisio, who has only been seeing limited action for Magnolia since Abueva's arrival, saved the day for their team after drilling a left corner triple with 2.4 seconds left that tied the game at 104-all.

Dionisio actually had a chance to win it for the team, but he missed his bonus free throw and the consequent follow-up before time expired in the first OT.

In the second overtime, however, the Hotshots clamped down the Road Warriors, only conceding an Anthony Semerad free throw within the final five minutes even as Ian Sangalang led the way for the finish.

Abueva paced Magnolia, now in solo second place at 6-2, with his league-leading fourth double-double of the season of 23 points and 12 rebounds alongside four assists, three steals, and two blocks.

Sangalang, who took over after Abueva fouled out, added 21 points, eight rebounds, and two assists off the bench.

Cruz put up 21 markers, six rebounds, eight assists, and three steals for NLEX, which fell to 4-3.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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