Eriobu, Magnolia give San Miguel more to worry about in Game 2

Eriobu, Magnolia give San Miguel more to worry about in Game 2

/ 04:55 PM February 04, 2024

Magnolia Hotshots PBA Finals Game 1

Magnolia’s Joseph Eriobu, right, during Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against San Miguel.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines–Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals is just a few hours away and San Miguel Beer may not be looking at merely the usual suspects as it prepares to go for a 2-0 series lead against Magnolia.

Joseph Eriobu checked in late and poured all of his seven points to grease Magnolia’s last-ditch effort to snatch Game 1 from the clutches of the Beermen late Friday night.


His efforts went for naught as the Hotshots fell, 103-95, after the clash at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.


But the third-string forward did give the San Miguel coaching staff something more to think about.

“We were able to show SMB that we’re not going to back down—facing a big lead or otherwise,” he told a pair of reporters on his way out of the bayside venue.

“We’ve learned from our lessons against Phoenix in Game 3 of the semifinals,” he added, referring to Magnolia’s lone defeat in the Final Four. There, the Hotshots gave up 33 points in the third quarter.

Magnolia trailed by as many as 20 points in the title series opener, no thanks to a big second period San Miguel built on the hot shooting of Marcio Lassiter. The Hotshots, however, made the contest interesting heading into the final minute as Eriobu hit a big layup and Aris Dionisio drilled a freebie to help their squad pull within five, 100-95.

“It’s all mental,” Eriobu said of his resolve. “We’re no longer kids to have jitters. I’ve been a professional for seven years. And not to be preachy, but you need tough nerves to get to places at this level,” he said.

“Just look at San Miguel—the demeanor of its first five. Especially Chris Ross, Marcio and June Mar (Fajardo). We ought to do the same,” he added.


Eriobu said the goal at that point of the game was to cut the lead and keep the Beermen within striking range, and perhaps try to stun them.

And even after falling short, he truly believes that Magnolia was able to accomplish something else. Coach Chito Victolero feels the same way, too.

“We’re still positive, this is a series–not a do-or-die game. So we’ll just try to apply adjustments,” the Magnolia mentor said.

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“They felt that we’re going to battle,” Eriobu said.

TAGS: Magnolia Hotshots, PBA Finals

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