Calvin Abueva and Paul Lee joined forces as the Magnolia Hotshots defeated Phoenix Super LPG in a close toe-to-toe battle in the PBA Season 46 Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Saturday, 83-70.
As the Hotshots avenged themselves against the team who knocked them out in the quarterfinals in the Clark bubble, Abueva had a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds in his Magnolia debut, while Lee had 21 points, six rebounds, and two assists.
The two teams were locked in a close battle, with neither team holding a lead of more than seven points.
Unfortunately for Phoenix Super LPG, the Hotshots eventually pulled through when Lee hit two free throws with 49 seconds left to make it 76-73, then Justin Chua and RJ Jazul each muffed a shot from beyond the arc.
Magnolia made it a seven-point game with five free throws in the final seconds after the Fuel Masters committed desperation fouls.
As a result, the Hotshots greeted Abueva’s arrival with a solid win, joining the likes of Alaska, Rain or Shine, Meralco, and TNT Tropang Giga in the lead.
Abueva, who was given a starting role in his debut game as a Hotshot, performed admirably, leading the team against his former team, which is now led by Matthew Wright and Vic Manuel. Wright led the way with 20 points, while Manuel, a transfer from Alaska, chipped in with 16 points and ten rebounds.
Chris Banchero, a former Hotshots guard, did not play for the Fuel Masters due to a sprained ankle.
The day, though, belonged to Abueva. With 2:42 left in the game, the 6-foot-3 energy guy strung together six straight points, including a reversed three-point play, as the Hotshots took a six-point lead at 74-68. During that vital period, he was all over the court, hustling, collecting rebounds, and making his own buckets.
Magnolia 80 – Abueva 26, Lee 21, Barroca 7, Jalalon 6, Sangalang 6, Dela Rosa 6, Reavis 3, Ahanmisi 3, Corpuz 2, Brill 0, Melton 0, De Leon 0, Capobres 0, Pascual 0, Dionisio 0.
Phoenix 73 – Wright 20, Manuel 16, Perkins 11, Garcia 11, Chua 7, Demusis 4, Pascual 2, Rios 2, Muyang 0, Calisaan 0, Banchero 0, Faundo 0, Melecio 0, Jazul 0, Napoles 0.
Quarters: 11-11, 25-23, 55-51, 80-73.