MANILA -- Magnolia clawed back from 26 points down to complete a 93-91 victory against rival Barangay Ginebra in the Manila Clasico on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The victory, however, was not without controversy as the Gin Kings complained of an apparent non-call on a Scottie Thompson shot attempt with just over six seconds left to play.
A split at the line by Jiovani Jalalon was enough to seal the win for Magnolia, with Christian Standhardinger misfiring on a long jumper as time expired.
"Those are breaks of the game," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero after their win.
"Sometimes nalalagay din kami sa ganoon. Hindi natin malaman kung tama o mali (ang call). Basta ang gusto namin we had the chance."
Magnolia import Tyler Bey, who went on a dunking spree, had 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Jalalon finished with 15 markers, all of them coming in the second half.
The Gin Kings caught the Hotshots flatfooted at the onset of the game, building a quick 13-4 advantage on Japeth Aguilar's lead.
Tony Bishop joined the fray, leading two huge surges to hike Ginebra's lead to 34-14.
After seeing themselves trailing by 25 points, Magnolia reconfigured its defense to limit Ginebra as Jalalon embarked on a scoring rampage, unloading nine points in five minutes to bring the Hotshots closer, 70-62, 1:09 to go in the third period.
Jalalon pieced together another offensive with Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang to bring the deficit down further. Lee's trey pulled Magnolia to within 75-70.
It was Bey's turn to inflict damage against Ginebra, throwing down a dunk followed up by a fadeaway and another dunk to pull the Hotshots to within 82-81 midway though the payoff period.
Another jam by Bey gave Magnolia the lead, 85-83, over three minutes remaining. Maverick Ahanmisi then rose to the occasion, digging two treys that pushed Ginebra ahead, 89-86.
But the Hotshots fought back and a foul by Thompson sent Bey to the free throw line where he gave Magnolia a 92-91 breather.
"'Give ourselves a chance,' 'yun ang sinabi ko sa kanila sa halftime. I don't care if we win or lose this game, but I want to win in the second half, 'yun ang sinabi ko sa kanila," said Victolero on their dramatic comeback.
Bishop and Ahanmisi each had 21 points for Ginebra, while Christian Standhardinger scored 13. Thompson and Aguilar each tallied 12 markers in the Gin Kings' first defeat this season.
MAGNOLIA 93 – Bey 31, Jalalon 15, Barroca 13, Lee 9, Sangalang 8, Dela Rosa 6, J.Ahanmisi 5, Reavis 0, Tratter 0, Eriobu 0, Dionisio 0
GINEBRA 91 – M. Ahanmisi 21, Bishop 21, Standhardinger 13, J.Aguilar 12, Thompson 12, Pringle 9, Pinto 3, Cu 0, Pessumal 0
QUARTERS: 16-34, 35-60, 64-72, 93-91