Abueva, Perez key essential victories forward of Magnolia-San Miguel showdown

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San Miguel ahead CJ Perez. PBA IMAGES

They’re two gamers linked by the similarity of their video games. On Friday, each got here up with big performances to push their new groups right into a footrace for a twice-to-beat playoff incentive within the PBA Philippine Cup.

Calvin Abueva scored a last-gasp bucket to propel Magnolia to a 90-89 victory over Northport at Don Honorio Ventura State U in Bacolor, Pampanga, the place the Hotshots climbed out of holes as deep as 17 factors.

“We talked about what’s at stake on this recreation. This was our probability to go to the quarters, and an opportunity at taking the No. 2 spot,” coach Chito Victolero mentioned shortly after the thriller.

That probability will run by means of San Miguel Beer and new acquisition CJ Perez, whose high-motor recreation has drawn comparisons to the indefatigable Abueva, a lot in order that the sophomore standout was as soon as known as “Child Beast” in school, in reference to Abueva’s “The Beast” moniker.

On Friday, Perez had 24 factors, 5 rebounds and 4 assists because the Beermen ripped aside Phoenix, 110-80, to additionally keep in competition for that twice-to-beat armor.

Key duel

San Miguel and Magnolia will conflict in a key duel on Sunday that might play closely within the race for the No. 2 squad behind league-leading TNT. Meralco, which battles lowly Blackwater on Saturday, can also be in competition for the playoff bonus.

“It would nonetheless rely on the end result of the opposite video games,” mentioned SMB coach Leo Austria. “We simply need to do our greatest.”

The Beermen have been at their finest towards the Gasoline Masters, permitting them to rebound from a tricky 95-93 defeat to Rain or Shine final Sunday.

“I informed them that we needed to bounce again. And we noticed that this afternoon. Although I wasn’t anticipating this end result. However in fact, credit score to the fellows—particularly this man,” mentioned Austria, pointing to Perez.

Perez, a star at Terrafirma final 12 months earlier than being shipped to San Miguel, returned the praise: “It’s all due to the belief given to me by coach and his workers. And the veterans, too, for pushing me to play my recreation.”

Perez’s efficiency allowed the Beermen to buck the absence of Terrence Romeo, who left the sport within the first quarter due to a foot damage. Romeo’s standing past Friday’s recreation is but unknown.

“We’re nonetheless assessing the extent of his damage,” Austria mentioned of Romeo. “It will be powerful for us if he’s [severely] injured, as a result of everyone knows how Terrence is. Earlier than this recreation, he’s one of many league’s prime scorers.”

The Beermen have been loaded sufficient to make up for the scoring vacuum left by Romeo’s damage. Mo Tautuaa, who got here off the bench like Perez, scored 19 factors to assist San Miguel to its sixth win in 9 outings. June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos completed with 18 and 16 factors, respectively, with Fajardo including 11 rebounds.

Phoenix, which trailed by as many as 37 factors, dropped to 4-7 and wishes destiny to dip its hand into the race to make it to the playoffs.

San Miguel, which led by as many as 37 factors, will want the identical multipronged assault towards Magnolia, which at the moment totes a 7-3 report.

‘Challenged ourselves’

The Hotshots almost faltered towards the Batang Pier till Abueva got here to the rescue.Down by a hairline with 3.9 left on the clock, Abueva scored over the outstretched arms of the a lot taller Kevin Ferrer for the essential triumph.

“We actually challenged ourselves to get this win,” mentioned Victolero, who constructed a little bit of a momentum going into the essential conflict with the Beermen.

“We’ll simply strive to think about what we are able to management,” the Hotshots mentor mentioned. “And what’s inside our management is that recreation on Sunday. No matter occurs subsequent, at the very least we’re by means of the quarters. That may do for now.”

Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 26 factors, together with a layup with 39 ticks left that put Magnolia forward, 88-87.

Ferrer then scored within the subsequent sequence—his solely make all through the sport—to place NorthPort forward.

Greg Slaughter turned in 21 factors to steer NorthPort in Pido Jarencio’s return from COVID-19 restoration, but it surely was not sufficient to maintain the group’s tremendous type which swept three opponents final week.

The Batang Pier dropped to 4-5.

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