PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Tyler Bey at his best as Magnolia avenges playoff heartbreaks to TNT

Delfin Dioquino

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Tyler Bey at his best as Magnolia avenges playoff heartbreaks to TNT

DOMINANT. Tyler Bey in action for the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

PBA Images

Magnolia advances to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup, redeeming itself after succumbing to TNT in their last four playoff encounters

MANILA, Philippines – Call it sweet payback.

Top seed Magnolia avenged a series of playoff heartbreaks to TNT and claimed the first semifinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup by way of a 109-94 victory at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday, January 17.

Import Tyler Bey churned out a conference-high 41 points as the Hotshots redeemed themselves after succumbing to the Tropang Giga in their four previous playoff encounters, the last three under head coach Chito Victolero.

Magnolia fell 3-1 to TNT in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, bowed in the 2019 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, lost 4-1 in the 2020 Philippine Cup finals, and absorbed a 4-2 defeat in the 2022 Philippine Cup semifinals.

“We’re happy that we finally got one,” said Victolero in Filipino. “It is a great feeling.”

“This is just the quarters. We always want to go deep into the playoffs. We’re happy but we’re not satisfied. We’ll work hard for the next series.”

Bey, who found time for 13 rebounds, 5 steals, and 3 blocks, presided over a crucial 23-4 run bridging the third and fourth quarters that allowed the Hotshots to pull away.

The Tropang Giga seized a 69-68 lead off back-to-back Roger Pogoy three-pointers late in the third period before Bey dropped 10 points in the pivotal rally as Magnolia grabbed a commanding 91-72 advantage.

Although TNT got within single digits, 89-97, with under four minutes left, Bey scored 8 of the Hotshots’ last 12 points to keep the Tropang Giga at bay.

Reserves rose to the occasion for twice-to-beat Magnolia as all of its other double-figure scorers – Mark Barroca (17), Ian Sangalang (12), and Calvin Abueva (12) – all came off the bench.

Import Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson put up a near triple-double of 27 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks, but not even his lofty numbers were enough for shorthanded TNT to force a knockout match.

The Tropang Giga played without veteran guard Jayson Castro, who got sidelined due to bone spurs.

Calvin Oftana tallied 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in the loss, while rookie Kim Aurin – the latest PBA Press Corps Player of the Week awardee – had 13 points.

The Scores

Magnolia 109 – Bey 41, Barroca 17, Sangalang 12, Abueva 12, Jalalon 9, Lee 7, Dionisio 4, Laput 3, Dela Rosa 2, Ahanmisi 2, Corpuz 0, Tratter 0, Eriobu 0.

TNT 94 – Hollis-Jefferson 27, Oftana 20, Pogoy 17, Aurin 13, K.Williams 9, Heruela 4, Montalbo 2, Galinato 2, Khobuntin 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Ponferrada 0.

Quarters: 21-23, 50-44, 77-69, 109-94.

– 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.