MAGNOLIA moved on the verge of claiming the PBA Philippine Cup title after pulling off a dramatic 88-86 win over defending champion San Miguel in a bizarre ending to Game 5 on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Barroca nailed a jumper that hit nothing but net at the buzzer to seal the deal for the Hotshots in a game marred by a streaker dressed in a Spiderman costume entering the court and causing a commotion in the fourth quarter.
Barroca was mobbed by teammates after hitting the game-winner that gave the Hotshots a 3-2 series lead, He finished with a game-high 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Magnolia will now go for the jugular when Game 6 is played Sunday.
"It was a miracle shot," said Magnolia coach Chto Victolero afterwards. "When they made some runs, ang sabi ko lang sa kanila we need to weather the storm."
The Hotshots did after the Beermen stormed back from a 13-point deficit and put Magnolia under severe pressure even after the commotion that halted play for almost five minutes.
June Mar Fajardo was bumped by the streaker who went down from the patron section all the way to the court, holding a piece of paper in which the words 'Vote Love' was written.
Fajardo was knocked down following the collision before the streaker was run over by Christian Standhardinger.
Chris Ross then came over to the defense of his fallen teammate by also bumping the streaker, who was later led out of the playing venue by policemen and security forces of the Big Dome.
But that hardly distracted the Beermen, who went on and tied the ballgame for the last time at 86-all on a three-pointer by Terrence Romeo with 1:18 left to play.
After both teams failed to make plays, Barroca stepped in to save the day for the Hotshots.
Ian Sangalang had a quiet 18 points and 14 rebounds for Magnolia, which also got 12 points from Paul Lee before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after hurting his left shoulder.
Fajardo had 21 points and 22 rebounds for San Miguel, which now needs to sweep the last two games of the series to win the All-Filipino Cup crown for the fifth straight time.
The five-time league MVP had 13 points of his output scored in the fourth period,
In his best game of the finals yet, Marcio Lassiter finished with 20 points, while Arwind Santos had a double-double of 18 and 14 boards.
Magnolia (88) - Barroca 22, Sangalang 18, Lee 12, Jalalon 8, Reavis 8, Brondial 8, Dela Rosa 7, Melton 3, Pascual 2, Ramos 0.
San Miguel (86) - Fajardo 21, Lassiter 20, Santos 18, Romeo 11, Standhardinger 8, Cabagnot 5, Ross 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 27-18; 49-36; 69-63; 88-86.