Magnolia overcomes late Alaska run, stays on top
Magnolia turned to their guards to hold off a late run by Alaska, 83-73, and stay in first place in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo Travis was solid anew with team-bests of 19 points and 17 rebounds but it was the guard play of Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee and Mark Barroca that proved crucial for the Hotshots amid the fiery fightback by the Aces.
“Our guards have been playing really well the last few games and again Jio stepped up, Mark played good defense against Banchero and Paul on offense,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero after his squad improved to 7-1.
Jalalon followed up his triple-double performance with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Lee and Barroca had 14 and 12 points, respectively to lead the Hotshots to their fifth consecutive win.
Alaska rose from 20 points down in the third period and pulled within two, 75-73, after a basket by Jake Pascual off a nifty setup by Chris Banchero with 2:17 remaining but that turned out to be the Aces’ final basket as the Hotshots closed the game on an 8-0 spurt.
Lee came through for the Hotshots in the clutch as he blew past Ping Exciminiano for the drive to put his team ahead, 77-73, with 47.8 ticks left. Jalalon then, hit a pair of free throws before Barroca made a layup to seal the game.
A two-handed dunk by Travis put the icing on the cake against his former team.
The Aces slipped to fourth with a 5-2 slate, just a half-game behind idle Blackwater. Barangay Ginebra is in second at 7-2 following its shock loss to Rain or Shine on Saturday in Lucena.
Mike Harris paced Alaska, which had 23 turnovers and only 15 assists, with 24 points and 25 rebounds.
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