Major upset | Inquirer Sports

Major upset

Heavy underdogs, Hotshots rally from 20 down to shock defending champions in Game 1
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:55 AM March 24, 2018

Making good on his promise to seize the opportunity, Ian Sangalang took over in the fourth quarter as Magnolia fought back from 20 points down in the second half to stun San Miguel Beer, 105-103, Friday night in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Holding his own against four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Sangalang poured 14 of his 29 points in the final period, while the rest of the Hotshots put together an incredible defensive effort to stop the Beermen, enabling them to grab the headstart in a series that looked one-sided at the start.

“Our mindset was not to give up no matter how big San Miguel’s lead,” said the 6-foot-7 Sangalang, who hit two free throws off a foul on Fajardo with 16.5 seconds remaining for the marginal points. “We know we are underdogs in the series, and we have no choice but to give everything for us to stand a chance against San Miguel.”

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Taking inspiration from injured teammate Marc Pingris, Sangalang also grabbed nine boards, while alternating with Rafi Reavis in guarding Fajardo, who managed just six points in the fourth after scoring 25 in the first three periods.

“We had to help each other with Kuya Ping (Pingris) out,” said Sangalang. “He continues to motivate us and encourage us even when he’s not on the floor.”

The Hotshots outscored the Beermen, 30-14, in the final period with rookie Robbie Herndon also stepping up with a couple of three-pointers, before Reavis finally gave Magnolia the lead, 101-100.

Paul Lee was held to just four points, but he hit a floater and assisted on a Sangalang basket late in the game. The Hotshots caught a break when referees missed an out-of-bounds call on Reavis before he called a timeout with 16 seconds left.

Jio Jalalon blew the chance to seal the game earlier, missing two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining, but Arwind Santos’ potential game-tying jumper was blocked by Reavis in San Miguel’s final possession.

“I kept on insisting we wanted a grind it out game,” said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero. “It was always about our defense in the second half. Down by 20, the team didn’t give up. That’s the character that we’ve built from past experiences. That was our process.”

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TAGS: Game 1, Magnolia, PBA, PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer
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