MANILA, Philippines – In a stunning reversal of fortune between the best and worst teams in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Blackwater shocked Magnolia with a gritty 101-100 escape at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 9.
The Bossing banked on young guns Barkley Eboña and Rey Suerte in the endgame as they avoided a winless season and stopped their historic skid at 29 games in their final elimination round match.
Eboña sank the go-ahead layup with 10 seconds left, while rookie Suerte delivered the win-sealing block on Jackson Corpuz in the win that saw Blackwater fend off a gutsy comeback from Mark Barroca and the Hotshots.
Firing a career-high 27 points, Barroca almost singlehandedly dragged Magnolia out of an 11-point hole with 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a tough bank shot that gave his side a 100-99 lead with 1:40 minutes left.
Chances of clinching their first win since October 2020 then seemed to have slipped away from the Bossing after they committed two shot clock violations in the final 1:15 minutes, both on airballed three-pointers from Justin Melton and Paul Desiderio.
Desiderio, though, redeemed himself by forcing a Barroca turnover in the next possession, paving the way for Eboña to put Blackwater back on top with a contorted layup over the outstretched hands of Aris Dionisio.
All eyes were on Barroca, who shot a perfect 6-of-6 in the fourth quarter, in the final possession but he passed the last shot to Corpuz, whose layup got stuffed by Suerte as time expired.
“I made mistakes along the way this conference, I have to admit it,” said Bossing head coach Ariel Vanguardia. “I think we’re a better team than just one victory. We’re very hopeful going into the future.”
Suerte finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds, Eboña had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while import Shawn Glover led the way for Blackwater with 33 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals.
JVee Casio and Andre Paras chipped in 12 points in the win and Desiderio added 8 points for the Bossing, who ended their Governors’ Cup campaign with a 1-10 record.
Seeking their 10th win in 11 games, the Hotshots badly missed the presence of import Mike Harris down the stretch no thanks to an unsportsmanlike foul.
Harris, who churned out 21 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 steals, left the court with 2:50 minutes remaining after the referees slapped him with a flagrant foul penalty 1 for hitting Eboña in the head during a block attempt.
Eboña padded the Blackwater lead to 97-90 after Harris’ foul by canning his foul shots, but Magnolia still managed to rally and take the upper hand off a 10-2 run capped by back-to-back Barroca baskets.
Dionisio tallied 14 points, while Paul Lee netted 12 points for Magnolia, which nonetheless wrapped up the eliminations at No. 1 with a 9-2 slate.
Blackwater 101 – Glover 33, Suerte 16, Paras 12, Casio 12, Ebona 8, Desiderio 8, Ayonayon 6, McCarthy 6, Melton 0, Washington 0, Amer 0, Amboludto 0.
Magnolia 100 – Barroca 27, Harris 21, Dionisio 14, Lee 12, Wong 7, Reavis 5, Sangalang 5, Dela Rosa 4, Brill 3, Ahanmisi 2, Corpuz 0, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 16-21, 48-45, 71-66, 101-100.