PBA Governors' Cup

Hester dominates in PBA return as Magnolia wallops Phoenix for 1st win

Delfin Dioquino

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Hester dominates in PBA return as Magnolia wallops Phoenix for 1st win

IMMEDIATE IMPACT. Antonio Hester starts his stint with Magnolia on the right foot.

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Antonio Hester delivers all-around numbers in his Magnolia debut as the Hotshots notch their first win after a 0-3 start with former import Eric McCree

MANILA, Philippines – An import switch paid dividends for Magnolia as it broke through in the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 108-95 win against Phoenix anchored by Antonio Hester at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, February 10.

Hester posted 28 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals in his PBA return to steer the Hotshots to their first victory after a dismal 0-3 start with former import Eric McCree.

Coming in from his stint with the Zamboanga Valientes in the ASEAN Basketball League, Hester shot an efficient 9-of-14 clip in the rout that saw Magnolia lead by as many as 27 points.

“We just needed a game changer like Hes so we can turn things around,” said Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero of Hester, whose last PBA stint came with Terrafirma in the Governors’ Cup last season.

As Hester provided an immediate impact, locals Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca, and Jerrick Ahanmisi also made their presence felt, particularly in the Hotshots’ big second quarter where they outscored the Fuel Masters 35-15.

Catching fire from deep, Ahanmisi unloaded all of his 12 points – all from three-pointers – in a 29-9 run that allowed Magnolia to pull away after ending the opening period with a slim 23-21 lead.

Abueva contributed 9 points during that rally as the Hotshots erected a 52-30 advantage with four minutes left in the first half.

That lead peaked at 87-60 in the third quarter and Magnolia never looked back.

Abueva finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists, Barroca chimed in 19 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Paul Lee added 14 points and 5 rebounds.

Jason Perkins showed the way for Phoenix with 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in the loss that dropped the Fuel Masters to 1-5 for 10th place in the 12-team league.

His touches limited, Du’Vaughn Maxwell wound up with a PBA career-low 11 points on a 5-of-7 shooting for the Fuel Masters, although he still put up 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

Larry Muyang and Tyler Tio chipped in 15 and 13 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

The Scores

Magnolia 108 – Hester 28, Barroca 19, Abueva 18, Lee 14, Ahanmisi 12, Dela Rosa 6, Escoto 4, Wong 3, Jalalon 2, Laput 2, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0, Dionisio 0, Mendoza 0.

Phoenix 95 – Perkins 20, Muyang 15, Tio 13, Maxwell 11, Jazul 9, Serrano 8, Manganti 6, Alejandro 4, Soyud 3, Adamos 3, Go 3, Lalata 0, Garcia 0, Camacho 0.

Quarters: 23-21, 58-36, 87-67, 108-95.

– 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.