CALVIN Abueva changed uniform but he's his usual ways driven by his great energy.
Magnolia old hand Paul Lee, for his part, was reliable as ever with his steadiness.
Abueva and Lee joined forces as Magnolia outlasted Phoenix Super LPG in a tough toe-to-toe battle, grinding out an 83-70 victory in PBA Season 46 Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig Saturday.
Abueva came through with a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds in his Magnolia debut while Lee put in 21 markers that went with six rebounds and two assists as the Hotshots scored some measure of revenge against the team that knocked them out in the quarterfinals in the Clark bubble.
But it wasn't easy.
The two teams engaged in tight duel with no side enjoying a lead of more then seven points.
The Hotshots eventually pulled through as Lee drained two free throws to make it 76-73 with 49 ticks to go, then Justin Chua and RJ Jazul muffed an attempt each from the arc.
From there, Magnolia made it a seven-point win on five free throws from desperation fouls by the Fuel Masters in the closing seconds.
Thus, the Hotshots celebrated Abueva's arrival with a good victory to join the march of early winners Alaska Milk, Rain or Shine, Meralco and TNT Tropang Giga.
Given a starting role right in his first outing as a Hotshot, Abueva responded well, showing the way for the Hotshots against his former team now led by the duo of Matthew Wright and Vic Manuel.
Wright topscored with 20 markers while Manuel, a transferee from Alaska, delivered 16 points and 10 rebounds.
But the day belonged to Abueva.
In one of his highlight runs, the 6-foot-3 energy guy strung up six straight markers, including a reversed three-point play, as the Hotshots opened a six-point lead at 74-68 with time down to 2:42.
He was all over the floor in that crucial stretch, hustling, grabbing the rebounds and himself making the baskets. (SB)
Magnolia (80) -- Abueva 26, Lee 21, Barroca 7, Jajalon 6, Dela Rosa 6, Sangalang 6, Ahanmisi 3, Reavis 3, Ahanmisi 3, Corpuz 2, Brill 0, Reavis 0.
Phoenix (73) -- Wright 20, Manuel 16, Garcia11, Perkins 11, Chua 7, Demusis 4, Pascual 2, Rios 2, Jazul 0, Muyang 0, Melecio 0, Calisaan 0.
Quarterscores: 11-11; 25-23; 55-51; 80-73.