MANILA— Magnolia nearly fizzled out down the stretch but still had enough strength to hold off Blackwater, 78-72, in their PBA Philippine Cup battle at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday night.
The Hotshots lost an 18-point lead but scored the last six points of the game to dodge the Elite’s upset bullet.
Magnolia bombed Blackwater early on, limiting the opposing side to only 13 points in the first quarter and 29 by halftime while opening a 52-34 lead early in the third quarter.
Mac Belo, however, came alive later in the second half and forced a 72-all deadlock with 1:07 to go in the game.
Ian Sangalang saved the Hotshots’ cause with a huge basket with 56 seconds left as Belo could not buy a basket in the end, sparking the Elite’s endgame implosion.
Mark Barroca and Aldrech Ramos each tallied 14 points for Magnolia, which is now on top of the team standings at 6-1.
Belo’s 25-point bomb, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter, went down the drain as Blackwater lost for the fourth straight time, dropping the team to 2-5.
Magnolia 78: Ramos 14, Barroca 14, Melton 8, Sangalang 8, Pascual 7, Jalalon 6, Simon 6, Dela Rosa 6, Pingris 4, Herndon 3, Reavis 2, Gamalinda 0, Brondial 0
Blackwater 72: Belo 25, Maliksi 17, Cortez 8, Erram 6, Jose 4, Pinto 3, DiGregorio 2, Marcelo 2, Sena 2, Sumang 2, Palma 1, Cruz 0, Javier 0
Quarterscores: 23-13, 42-29, 61-54, 78-72