PBA: Magnolia rallies past Meralco in semis opener
MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia bucked a lethargic first half and got its groove just in time to carve out a 94-80 victory over Meralco in the opener of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Hotshots battled back from 17 points and then got more assertive in the final two periods to gain a headstart in their race-to-three duel against the Bolts.
“This is very important, especially it’s just a best-of-five series,” coach Chito Victolero said in the post-game presser.
“We cannot dwell on our mistakes (earlier in the game). We wanted to focus on each possession and we did a good job, especially in the second half. We just tried to focus on the game, and not on the distractions,” he added.
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Mike Harris topscored Magnolia with 26 points, while Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva all finished in double digits scores.
Meralco got the goods from Chris Banchero, who finished with 16 points, and Bong Quinto who chipped in 13 more.
But the most telling for the Bolts was import Tony Bishop Jr. being shackled to just 10 points.
“We have a defensive scheme against Bishop,” Victolero said of Merlco’s efficient reinforcement. “We needed to put up a defensive scheme because we knew he contributes a lot on offense, especially through his shooting.
“I’m just glad Meralco’s lead didn’t swell that much,” he went on.
The two clubs go at it again on Friday’s nightcap, also at the same venue.
Magnolia 94 – Harris 26, Jalalon 15, Lee 13, Abueva 12, Barroca 9, Dionisio 7, Dela Rosa 6, Wong 5, Sangalang 1, Brill 0, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0.
Meralco 80 – Banchero 16, Quinto 13, Bishop 10, Newsome 8, Maliksi 7, Black 7, Baclao 6, Hodge 5, Almazan 4, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2, Jose 0.
Quarters: 12-22, 35-43, 64-56, 94-80.