PBA: Magnolia clinches twice-to-beat after holding off Meralco
MANILA, Philippines—An undermanned Magnolia squad secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals after holding off Meralco, 88-85, in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots, who played without Ian Sangalang, Calvin Abueva, and Rome Dela Rosa, maintained their hold of the top seed at 8-1 while the Bolts dropped to third and tied Alaska with a 6-3 record.
It took a pair of defensive stops for Magnolia to clinch the victory as Mark Barroca first tipped Allein Maliksi’s pass to the open Chris Banchero in the corner then preventing the Meralco forward to get a clean look from beyond the arc.
The Bolts got to within one, 86-85, after Maliksi’s three-pointer with 42.1 seconds to play in the fourth but Mike Harris made a three-point game, 88-85, for the Hotshots as he drove to the cup against the defense of Tony Bishop.
— PBA (@pbaconnect) March 2, 2022
“Fourth quarter we had the momentum, and it’s a good thing we executed in the final quarter especially on defense,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “We executed on our part and we were able to disrupt them.”
“Even though we don’t have a complete lineup due to injuries, there were no excuses, everybody stepped up from our second group to the third group. I’m very thankful to these players.”
Harris finished with a game-high 30 points with 22 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Hotshots while Paul Lee added 16 points and three steals.
Bishop had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Meralco.
Abueva is suffering from a calf muscle strain since the middle of February while Sangalang is nursing a sore knee that he got after Magnolia’s game against San Miguel on Sunday.
Dela Rosa, meanwhile, is nursing a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the lineup since mid-February.
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