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Magnolia escapes over NorthPort on Rome Dela Rosa winner

Calvin Abueva catapulted the Hotshots to their first win of the season. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Magnolia banked on the late heroics of Rome Dela Rosa to barge into the PBA Philippine Cup win column through an 80-77 squeaker over NorthPort on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Dela Rosa scored on a game-winning triple with six seconds left as the Hotshots evaded a huge comeback threat from the Batang Pier.

Magnolia was ahead by as much as 17, 40-23, late in the second quarter, but NorthPort came alive in the second half and even took the lead before an up-and-down fourth quarter led to a 77-all tie.

However, Jio Jalalon found Rome Dela Rosa wide open from the left wing for the dagger with six seconds left.

Arwind Santos tried to force overtime, but he missed the potential game-tying three as time ran out on the Batang Pier.

Calvin Abueva led Magnolia, now up to 1-2, with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block.

Paul Lee added 12 points, one rebound, four assists, and one steal, while Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca played through respective injuries and chipped in eight markers each.

Arwind Santos put up 18 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one assist, while Jamie Malonzo showed he deserves to be the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week during the opening week with 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks for NorthPort, which suffered its first loss of the season after a 2-0 start.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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