Returning Cabagnot sinks game-winner to lift Petron over Air21 | Inquirer Sports

Returning Cabagnot sinks game-winner to lift Petron over Air21

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 08:37 PM December 11, 2013

Alex Cabagnot. PBA IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines — Alex Cabagnot played his first game this season and he made sure everyone would know about it.

Cabagnot saw the open lane and sank the game-winning basket with 3.5 seconds left to push Petron Blaze past Air21, 90-88, in the 2014 PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I think it was really a tough win for us. Air21 came out to play, tons of credit to Air21,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla. “It’s going to be good for Alex’s confidence coming off a long layoff  due to injury.  It’s going to be good for us also.”

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Cabagnot, who returned from a right foot injury, finished with 10 points, three rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes while Chris Lutz scored a game-high 25 points for the Boosters, who hiked their league-leading record to 6-0.

“The final seconds I just want them to have no more time left to take the last shot but I was a little bit excited and I went too early fortunately, it worked out,” said Cabagnot, who just turned 31 last Sunday.

“As mentioned before the game we need a lot of patience that guys are coming in and it’s a challenge for us coaches to get that chemistry back. Fortunately, last few minutes of the ball game we had to rely on our system to finish he game off. We’re just lucky to have this win,” Abanilla added.

But more than luck, the Express made a defensive blunder in the waning seconds as Cabagnot came free and had all day to sink the go-ahead basket — a one-handed runner- – a move he said he’s been working on in practice.

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Air21 still had the chance to win but Bonbon Custodio misfired on a contested 3-pointer from the top-of-the-key as time expired.

Petron appeared on its way to a victory after Marcio Lassiter scored five unanswered points — a triple and a breakaway layup — as the Boosters led, 86-82, with only 49.8 seconds left.

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But Air21, which dropped to 1-6 with its last three losses going down-the-wire, responded behind Niño Canaleta’s two clutch treys — the last one tying the count at 88 with 20.2 ticks left.

Mark Cardona paced the Express with 24 points, including a three-point play off a Junemar Fajardo foul that gave his team its final taste of the lead, 82-81, at the 1:24 mark.

Fajardo had 13 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks while being matched up with Asi Taulava, who managed to have a better night than the sophomore giant with 16 points and 18 rebounds.

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Chris Ross also came back from injury and ended up with 10 points, five rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes.

TAGS: Air21, Alex Cabagnot, Basketball, PBA, Petron Blaze, Sports

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