PBA: Close call vs TNT ‘great test’ for Magnolia
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia was nothing short of dominant in its first three games in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup winning all of its matchups by double digits but TNT proved to be different test.
The Hotshots still had their customary big leads but their 96-93 win was more of an escape than a clear route as the Tropang Giga threw everything at them.
Big man Mike Harris said the team had to dig deep, and while they waved goodbye to their three-game streak of winning by at least 11 points, it was their chance to see what the rest of the conference would be like for them.
“This game is an indicator for us on how much we gelled as a team,” said Harris Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “There are great teams in the league and this game is our indicator of how games will be now.”
Magnolia, which now holds a 4-0 record, won its first three games by an average of 20.3 games with two of those wins getting decided by at least 23 points.
The Tropang Giga also seemed poised to be part of that victim list as they trailed by 14 points, 75-57, late in the third but they managed to close down the deficit to just one, 91-90, with 48 seconds left in the fourth after Kib Montalbo’s three capped off an 8-0 run.
If it weren’t for two terrible plays–Montalbo sending Paul Lee to the line with more than 24 seconds left and Mikey Williams tripping on his own foot to turn the ball over with 19.1 seconds remaining–the Tropang Giga could’ve stole one from the Hotshots.
“They threw a couple of situations wherein we didn’t control our composure, it’s a great test for us coming into the second half of the conference against a close-knit team,” said Harris who finished with 41 points and 18 rebounds.
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