Dela Rosa’s big basket gives Magnolia win No. 1 in PBA PHL Cup

Rome Dela Rosa’s clutch basket saves Magnolia. (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Defensive swingman Rome Dela Rosa came up big in the clutch and buried the game-winning three-pointer to help the Magnolia Chicken Timplados escape the gritty NorthPort Batang Pier squad, 80-77, for their first win of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.

It was a different Magnolia team this time after getting Paul Lee and Mark Barroca back from their respective injuries as the two immediately went to work in the first half.

The fantastic duo piled up the points and schooled the NorthPort defense that helped the Chicken Timplados build their largest lead of the game to 17 points, 40-23.

Lee was sensational in the first half and torched the Batang Pier team with four quick triples including two difficult step-backs that put the Chicken Timplados in a favorable position heading into the second half.

However, shades of their game against Converge once again haunted Magnolia as the Batang Pier were able to get back and trim their lead to just single digits in the third quarter.

Things became interesting in the last 10 seconds of the third quarter when NorthPort’s main gunner Robert Bolick sank a three-pointer that deadlocked the ball game at 55-all.

The whole fourth quarter then turned into a dogfight as both teams answered each other with mini offensive runs and were able to capitalize during fast break situations.

Roi Sumang provided the much-needed offensive punch for the Batang Pier after opening the last canto with a high-looping three-pointer that gave them the lead, 61-59.

The Chicken Timplados would then respond as Calvin Abueva and Barroca joined hands to keep their team close.

Down by one with 55 seconds left in the game, Bolick’s clutch trey from the top of the key gave NorthPort back the lead again, 77-75.

Abueva came back on the other end with a strong driving hook to the basket but missed his charity stripe shot that would’ve given them the lead.

Kevin Ferrer had the chance to give NorthPort the lead with the score tied at 77-all but missed both of his free throws, forcing Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero to design the last play and call a timeout.

With 12 seconds left in the game clock, Magnolia’s drive and kick offense opened Dela Rosa up on the left elbow and calmly sank the game-winning triple, 80-77.

It was Dela Rosa’s only points of the ball game after missing his prior seven shots from the field but grabbed three rebounds and had two assists.

“He’s an option. We want Jio to create for his teammates, and good thing Calvin dives, and Aris dives to the basket. Nag-collapse sila so si Rome ‘yung na-libre,” said coach Victolero.