Mendoza: PBA’s twin thrills

·2 min read

The semifinal cast for the PBA Philippine Cup is now complete but not after twin thrills provided by Sunday’s Suspense Theater at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

The first one was through the courtesy of the Magnolia-NLEX Game 3 decider, with the Hotshots nipping the Road Warriors, 112-106, rendering many screaming fans hoarse.

Spitfire Jio Jalalon jumpstarted Magnolia’s win, sinking a three via an improbable bank shot, and next issuing a deft pass to an open Calvin Abueva at right almost underneath the board for the Hotshots’ irreversible 108-100 lead with 1:15 left in OT.

Don Trollano hit two threes for NLEX but Magnolia survived the scare with Abueva’s charities that sealed the deal.

In the nightcap, Meralco tripped Ginebra, 106-104, escaping with the win after Gin King Scottie Thompson got tagged for a charging foul while trying to make a game-extending layup against spill-prone Cliff Hodge.

Before that, Raymond Almazan hit what proved to be the series clincher for Meralco via an impossible triple from center.

After a Ginebra timeout, the Gin Kings had a chance to send the game to overtime. But Stanley Pringle mercifully missed an open shot, the ball hitting the front rim, to the dismay of the Ginebra diehards.

It was a shame, indeed, that Pringle, known for his accuracy, would miss it after he had been left open.

Faking a drive toward the lane from left quarter court, Pringle suddenly stopped a la Michael Jordan, causing his defender to completely lose his balance.

This left Pringle wide often—only to miss the game-extending shot and allow Meralco to advance to the best-of-seven semifinals against San Miguel Beer starting on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Smarting from a near collapse after squandering a 21-point lead, Meralco managed to rise from adversity—with some help from a super-strict referee, who tagged Thompson for that charging foul that all but dashed all hopes of a Ginebra comeback.

Abueva, nursing five fouls, keyed Magnolia’s win, assisting Paul Lee for a tight three from the right side that knotted the count at 97 for overtime.

Magnolia will also go into a similar semis affair with defending champion TNT Tropang Giga.

Brace up for more thrills and spills, fellas.

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