Magnolia downs Meralco in PBA semis opener
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia took down Meralco, 88-79, in Game 1 of their seven-game semifinals series in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots pulled away late in the fourth with Calvin Abueva punctuating a 13-3 run with a breakaway jam for an 82-72 lead with 2:45 left in the testy game.
Jio Jalalon then pushed Magnolia’s lead to 14, 88-74, with a driving layup effectively ending the Bolts’ comeback hopes with 1:43 remaining.
The game, however, didn’t come without any incidents as Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero got called with a technical foul, as well as Meralco’s own bench, after a verbal altercation with Raymond Almazan.
Another incident also happened in the final five seconds as Allein Maliksi got into it with the Magnolia bench but no whistles were blown.
“It was a very hard and grinding game and regarding our focus we talked about playing the whole 48 minutes, we learned a lot from our past game where we only played for 47 minutes,” said Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero.
The Hotshots squandered a 13-point lead in the final two minutes in its elimination round game against the Bolts with Meralco taking an improbable 95-94 win off of Chris Newsome’s game-winning layup.
“Even if we’re up by 12, we pressured the game because we know they can come back.”
Ian Sangalang led the Hotshots with 18 points and eight rebounds while Paul Lee added 17 points.
Rafi Reavis nearly finished with a double-double with nine points and 10 boards for Magnolia.
Bong Quinto had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bolts.