SLR 74, MBM 80

On: 16 June 2008

PBA Fiesta Cup

Rookie guard Jonas Villanueva took advantage of Mike Cortez's absence as he fired a career-best 12 points, nine coming in the final frame as he helped Magnolia beat Philippine Cup champion Sta. Lucia Realty, 80-74, in the Smart-PBA Fiesta Conference last 13 June 2008 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The 6-foot Villanueva, who averaged just 4.4 points in his first nine games this conference, scored five straight points – a three-pointer and a lay-up against the outstretched arms of new SLR import Lee Benson, giving the Beverage Masters a 72-57 lead with 7:04 left in the game.

Another basket by Danny Seigle, who finished with 11 points, put Magnolia ahead, 74-57, with six minutes to play.

“As much as possible, every young guy wants to get (playing) minutes,” Magnolia head coach Siot Tanquingcen said of Villanueva, the team's ninth overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft last August.

“Jonas is our up and coming point guard. He is learning from two very good point guards (Mike Cortez and Olsen Racela), but the good thing about him is he can move up to shooting guard. It speaks well of his talent,” he added.

Villanueva, a nephew of Jesus Is Lord (JIL) leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, also came off the bench to collect four rebounds and four assists. In nine previous games he played, the one-time Fa Eastern U stalwart averaged just 12 minutes as the third point guard Cortez, sidelined due back spasms and the veteran Racela. He played 19 minutes against SLR.

“I know I have to wait for my time, and in this game kailangan tumulong,” said Villanueva, 25, whose previous high was 11 points in against Red Bull last Sunday, making it the second straight game he reset his career-high in scoring.

The Beverage Masters improved their record to 8-7, while dealing the Realtors their fourth straight defeat to drop to 6-8. It also avenged an 86-88 defeat to Sta. Lucia in their first round meeting last April 6.

Magnolia’s new import Amal McCaskill, an NBA veteran who replaced Jameel Watkins, finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds.

“I’m satisfied,” Tanquingcen said. “Amal somehow gave us what we expected from him.”

“The main thing we’re concerned is we can’t relax, we have to make sure that we build on it. It’s either we end up in the semis, or quarters or wildcard,” Tanquingcen.

Dorian Pena split his free throws and Don-Don Hontiveros, who had 12 points in his first game back after missing their last three because of a severe ankle sprain, nailed a jumper for a 78-67 lead when Sta. Lucia moved within nine, 67-76.

Benson, the Realtors’ third import after Wesley Wilson and Jamar Brown, had 19 points and 17 boards, while Kelly Williams added 16 and 12 boards. Nelbert Omolon came off the bench to contribute 11.

Sta. Lucia, which was held to its lowest output this season, played without Joseph Yeo and rookie Philip Butel, who were reportedly suspended for the game by team officials for figuring in a fight with each other during a team practice last Monday.(Source: PBA Site)

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