PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Abueva returns as Magnolia earns playoff bonus, eliminates Converge

Delfin Dioquino

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Abueva returns as Magnolia earns playoff bonus, eliminates Converge

SKY. Calvin Abueva in action for the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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League-leading Magnolia claims its ninth win in 10 games and secures a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals

MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia became the first team to lock up a playoff bonus in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after an 88-80 victory over Converge at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, December 23.

Tyler Bey produced his usual numbers of 27 points and 13 rebounds as the league-leading Hotshots hiked their record to 9-1 and secured a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.

Although seeing its months-long unbeaten streak snapped exactly a week ago, Magnolia has won back-to-back games and looks primed for a deep playoff run, with the team welcoming back veteran forward Calvin Abueva.

Sidelined in the first nine games of the conference first due to hemorrhoids then a calf injury, Abueva made his season debut against the FiberXers and put up 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals in 13 minutes off the bench.

Abueva scored 3 points in a 14-0 burst that broke a 65-65 tie and allowed the Hotshots to mount a 79-65 lead en route to the win.

Jio Jalalon finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals for Magnolia, while James Laput had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Star guards Paul Lee (6 points) and Mark Barroca (4 points) struggled as they shot a horrific 3-of-20 combined, but the Hotshots still got the job done against a Converge side that bowed out of playoff contention.

The FiberXers, who reached the quarterfinals in each of the three conferences last season, formally got eliminated after absorbing their eighth loss in nine games, tying Blackwater at the bottom of the 12-team standings.

Import Jamil Wilson tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Converge, which absorbed its second straight defeat.

Alec Stockton posted 16 points, while Aljun Melecio and Justin Arana scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

The Scores

Magnolia 88 – Bey 27, Jalalon 16, Laput 10, Eriobu 7, Lee 6, Sangalang 6, Abueva 6, Barroca 4, Dionisio 3, Dela Rosa 3, Tratter 0, Mendoza 0.

Converge 80 – Wilson 19, Stockton 16, Melecio 13, Arana 12, Santos 11, Wong 2, Caralipio 2, Ambohot 0, Fleming 0

Quarters: 18-15, 34-37, 60-62, 88-80.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.