The Magnolia Hotshots drove a painful dagger straight to the Alaska Aces' hearts after Ian Sangalang sank a buzzer-beating layup for the 84-82 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday, July 21.
The 6-foot-7 star towered over the Aces’ defenses and finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting, while Paul Lee added 16 markers and 2 assists.
While it looked like the Hotshots were on their way to seize control after a Lee jumper gave them an 80-72 lead at the 4:20 mark of the fourth, the Aces surged back with a 10-0 response capped by a go-ahead Robbie Herndon three for the 82-80 advantage.
Sangalang then quickly tied it up with a short stab, 82-all, before Rafi Reavis left the door open for an Alaska comeback by missing two straight free throws.
However, Yousef Taha, the Aces’ star offseason pickup, turned the ball over, leading to the heartbreaking Sangalang finish off a crafty Lee dime.
Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero was the least bit surprised on how the endgame turned out and was glad his guys gutted out the thrilling win despite the late change in schedule due to TNT and Terrafirma's preventive isolations.
“Sa tagal nilang magkakilala, sa mata pa lang, nagkakausap na,” Victolero said.
(With how long they have known each other, they can already communicate through eye contact)
“From the start I already said, this is not an easy game, and we will sweat out,” he added. “We have to be committed to this game because it's hard. We had only one day of preparation, so we needed to adjust right away.”
Taha paced the heartbreak loss with a big 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter chipped in 10 markers apiece.
Magnolia 84 – Sangalang 26, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 12, Barroca 10, Abueva 9, Dionisio 5, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Reavis 0, J. Ahanmisi 0.
Alaska 82 – Taha 20, Teng 10, Tratter 10, Banal 9, Herndon 8, Casio 7, Adamos 6, DiGregorio 6, Brondial 3, M. Ahanmisi 3, Browne 0.
Quarters: 26-25, 41-47, 65-66, 84-82.