PBA Finals: Magnolia looks to its defense as it seeks equalizer

PBA Finals: Magnolia looks to its defense as it seeks equalizer

/ 05:25 AM February 09, 2024

Magnolia Hotshots Tyler Bey NBA

Magnolia Hotshots’ import Tyler Bey in the PBA Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Personal statistics do not matter at this point for Tyler Bey.

He just wants to play a key role as Magnolia looks to get back on level terms with San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.


“I just want to win, man. I don’t really care about nothing else,” Bey said as the Hotshots go for a second straight win over the vaunted Beermen side Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in the pivotal fourth game set 7:30 p.m.


That match could be a make-or-break one for the Hotshots.

READ: San Miguel knows closing out Magnolia in PBA Finals won’t ‘come easily’

Magnolia got back in the series 48 hours earlier, taking an 88-80 victory behind its signature defensive stand. Turning the game into a grindout affair, the Hotshots reduced the Beermen, known as an offensive machine with a number of capable scorers, to their lowest output this conference.

Bey scored just 11 points in the win, his lowest since he came into the country as the youngest import of the season-opening conference.

But he did make some timely baskets down the stretch, while also succeeding in making San Miguel counterpart Bennie Boatwright work for his 27 points. Boatwright missed 18 of his 28 attempts in Game 3 as Magnolia trimmed the Beermen’s series lead to 2-1.

READ: Pregame: Magnolia players’ pump-up jams before PBA Finals Game 3

It also helped that Bey and Mark Barroca finally got able support from Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee, Rome dela Rosa, Ian Sangalang, Aris Dionisio and a more-composed Calvin Abueva as the Hotshots got their acts together after being outplayed in the previous two outings.

“I mean, it’s the playoffs and I’m just giving it my all,” said Bey. “I just play through whatever it is. Whatever coach wants me to do, I’m gonna do it.”


Commanding lead

Magnolia Hotshots Tyler Bey NBA

Magnolia Hotshots’ import Tyler Bey in the PBA Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Coach Chito Victolero is hopeful Bey can repeat his Game 3 performance, especially on the defensive end and deny the Beermen a commanding 3-1 lead that would put them closer to an unprecedented 29th PBA championship.

“We’re very consistent on our defense throughout the conference, which was something we were not able to do in Games 1 and 2,” said Victolero. “But we were able to do what we want to do [in Game 3] because we had a lot of energy from our guards and even Calvin, as well as the defensive mindset of T-Bey (Bey’s nickname).”

San Miguel is expected to make efforts to redeem itself with Boatwright, CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo leading the way even as Jericho Cruz returns to the floor after being slapped a one-game suspension.

READ: PBA Finals: San Miguel’s ‘Martilyo Gang’ shows worth in Game 2

Cruz was banned in Game 3 after accumulating five technical fouls this conference. He got that by sticking his tongue out at Abueva after a made triple in the second half of Game 2 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Meanwhile, Perez is favored to hoist the Best Player of the Conference award as the league names the top players of the conference prior to tipoff.

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The Best Import plum will also be handed to either Bey, Boatwright or Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams.

TAGS: Magnolia, PBA Finals, San Miguel Beer

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