A stinging loss to the Meralco Bolts last week has become a rallying point and wakeup call of sorts for Magnolia these days.
The Hotshots have since posted their third straight win, including a hard-earned 112-105 stopping of the NLEX Road Warriors in double overtime on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Scoring on three big turnovers they forced in the final five minutes of their long and gritty encounter, the Hotshots went on to notch their fifth win in seven outings. Their 5-2 slate put the Hotshots in a share of second spot with the Bolts.
Calvin Abueva, who struck with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds, gave way to Ian Sangalang in the last overtime period as the Hotshots finally took control of the game.
Sangalang, who unloaded 21 points and eight rebounds, knocked in two big baskets, off the rebound plays from Andy Barroca and Abueva in the last 3:41.
And the big assists that Sangalang got from his teammates allowed the Hotshots to shatter a 104-all first overtime tie and gain the upperhand for good, 108-104.
“It’s all about grit and determination. We were down by 17 points in the third quarter. We just tried to be composed and limit our turnovers,” said Hotshots’ coach Chito Victolero.
The game, which happened on the day Typhoon Jolina wreaked havoc on the countryside, will be remembered was one of Abueva’s best performances, after he posted a fourth straight double-double for the conference.
The Hotshots, who were down by 13 points at the close of the third period, fought their way to within a point in the final minute and equalized on a split free throw from Paul Lee, 94-all.
They stayed close with the Road Warriors until the final second of the first overtime when Hotshots cager Aris Dionisio connected with a step-back triple for the tie at 104-all and a got a foul from Philip Paniamogan in the process.
Dionisio was unable to sink his charity shot, putting the match into a second extension period.
Jericho Cruz showed the way for the Road Warriors with 21 points.
Victolero said the team has been on its toes after their heartbreaking 94-95 setback to the Bolts, providing the Hotshots an unforgettable experience last week.
The Hotshots coach added that squad has never been the same since then.