PBA Finals: Mark Barroca delivers for Magnolia in crucial victory

PBA Finals: Barroca delivers on both ends for Magnolia in crucial win

/ 11:54 PM February 07, 2024

PBA FInals Game 3 Mark Barroca Magnolia Hotshots

Mark Barroca leads Magnolia Hotshots’ attack in PBA Finals Game 3 against Sam Miguel Beermen. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Mark Barroca has been one of the leaders for Magnolia for as long as one can remember.

So in one of the most important games of the season, Barroca showed why he’s trusted by the Hotshots by powering them to an 88-80 victory over San Miguel in Game 3 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

When coach Chito Victolero needed it the most, the veteran guard top-scored for Magnolia with 20 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals to avoid going down 0-3 at the hands of the Beermen.

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Included in his 20-piece are huge buckets in the fourth quarter that repulsed any comeback effort from San Miguel.

When several Hotshots were struggling on offense, Barroca became the difference maker despite sinking just 10 of his 21 tries from the field  to give the Hotshots a win in the best-of-seven series.

“The other players struggled. Since this is the Finals and I’m one of the leaders, so of course I needed to step up for the team. I just worked with whatever shot’s given to me, I’ll take the responsibility. As coach said, I shouldn’t hesitate if I’m open,” said Barroca in Filipino.

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Instead of basking in his scoring exploits in the crucial win, Barroca said that defense was the key to the win.

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“Scoring will just be there, but I always think defense first before offense because that’s [our strength]. Whatever positives you do on defense, it will be contagious for the team,” said a beaming Barroca.

“Our identity is defense so we just gave our best there. When we make stops, we make proper runs. That’s what happened tonight.”

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Magnolia more than delivered on the defensive end, limiting the Beermen to under 90 points. It also doused cold water on the Beermen’s hot shooting, forcing San Miguel to only seven made three-pointers after 36 tries.

Locking down on defense likewise Victolero’s plan when the troop took on a young Phoenix squad and it worked successfully.

Despite the win, though,  Barroca knows that there’s still nothing to celebrate about.

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“This is just one game and our opponents are up so we have to stay low; not too high, not too low and regroup for the next game on Friday,” he said.

TAGS: Magnolia Hotshots, Mark Barroca, PBA Commissioner's Cup

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