Back to square one
Magnolia started out hot and barely hung on in the stretch on Monday night, with a 94-91 victory over Rain or Shine reducing their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series to a race-to-two at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
The well-rested Hotshots took command early but sputtered near the end, needing some help from critical misses and miscues by the Elasto Painters before forging a 2-2 tie and gaining momentum for Game 5 after pulling out a second straight win.
For a while, it looked like the Hotshots were going to run away with it after opening up handsome leads, playing super sharp because of the rest they got from the Lenten break.
Still, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero feels that they’ve accomplished little at this point.
“We only tied the series,” Vitolero said. “We knew that we needed to come in hard. So we used our experience, our energy and aggressiveness to win this game.”
Reprising the same intensity on both ends of the court that netted them the win in Game 3, Magnolia held fort—most notably in the final moments.
Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 19 points, Paul Lee had 15 while Mark Barroca 11.
The Hotshots and the Painters break their tie on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Pulse’s victory over San Miguel Beer on Sunday night may have taken the Fuel Masters back in the fight of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against rock-solid San Miguel.
But for coach Louie Alas, the 92-90 victory two nights ago netted his team something grander.
More than the one-game deficit and the hole that now seems a little less deeper, he said the narrow Game 3 triumph gives the Fuel Masters a lot to build on for the future.
“As I was telling (the players), the victory we earned from this game is going to be a big bonus not [only] for the series,” he said.
But on Tuesday, Alas would need something immediate from his Fuel Masters, who gun for a 2-2 tie at 7 p.m. at Cuneta Astrodome, otherwise, falling into a 3-1 hole would basically mean the end against the powerhouse Beermen.
Magnolia 94—Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Herndon 0, Simon 0.
Rain or Shine 91—Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Nambatav 9, Borboran 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarters: 28-20, 56-37, 80-64, 94-91.
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