By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Magnolia Chicken Timplados showed their poise under pressure despite letting their double-digit lead slip away to edge the Converge FiberXers, 99-95, during the ongoing PBA On Tour Preseason last May 31, 2023, held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
After leading for three-straight quarters, the Chicken Timplados found themselves in deep trouble when the young FiberXers suddenly found their rhythm at the three-point territory that kicked off their insane scoring avalanche.
From being down by as much as 14 points entering the fourth, Converge was able to complete the comeback and even led by a point after Kevin Racal flipped the switch and drained three consecutive trifectas.
However, Magnolia wasn’t to be denied and maintained their composure when the duo of Mark Barroca and Paul Lee answered all those Converge treys to turn the game into a nip-and-tuck affair.
Aside from the dynamic guard duo, Jed Mendoza, Magnolia’s backup point guard who is yet to earn his consistent minutes in the regular season, put on a show after providing the offensive spark in the last five minutes of the ball game.
With Magnolia trailing by a point in the last 50 seconds of the game, 94-95, Barroca took matters into his own hands and sank the cold-blooded perimeter jumper to help the Chicken Timplados regain the lead, 96-95.
Converge had one last chance for another lead change but their opportunity missed which led to a Barroca foul who sank both of his shots.
It was then pretty much over after the FiberXers missed another shot to equalize the affair. Converge then fouled Mendoza who sank one bonus free throw to secure their second-straight preseason victory.
Lee led the Magnolia surge with 21 big points backstopped by Mendoza who chipped in 14 while Barroca added 12 points.