The 43rd season of the PBA saw one corporation dominate unlike anything seen before.
With a dominant Game 6 outing, the Magnolia Hotshots capped the San Miguel Corporation’s own version of a grand slam, romping the Alaska Aces, 102-86, Wednesday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
This was the perfect season-ender for SMC.
To start the year, the San Miguel Beermen secured their fourth-straight Philippine Cup with 4-1 series win over the Hotshots. Then in the Commissioner’s Cup, it was the Barangay Ginebra Kings’ turn to climb the mountain; they stunned the Beermen, 4-2.
This time around, it was Magnolia atop the podium. And the Hotshots wasted no time getting there.
“I think yung start ng laro na to, hindi lang today nag-start yun eh. Nag-start yun sa preparation namin sa last four days,” said second-year Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero, who has won his first championship in the pros.
“Nakita ko talaga sa players ko na they want this game, they want the championship. They’re very focused sa preparation namin. Yung mindset nila, yung focus sa practice, talagang pinaghandaan yung game na ito,” added the 14th former pro to win a championship as a chief tactician.
The Hotshots came out of the gates blazing with a 12-0 start. It was only after two minutes and 56 seconds that the Aces were able to score their first point. On the other hand, the Hotshots only missed their first field goal 18 seconds later.
During the first 12 minutes of action, Romeo Travis was unstoppable, pouring in 15 of his 32 points. The 34-year-old globetrotter also gobbled 16 rebounds, dished six dimes, and had three steals, while swatting away a shot.
Besides making history for the conglomerate, Mangolia ended their four-year title drought; their last championship was the 2014 Governors’ Cup. In addition, this is the franchise’s 14th championship, tying Alaska at second overall for most championships.
“Hindi lang sa akin yung credit diyan,” Victolero said. “Lahat ito ay tinrabaho ng staff, ng players, at ng management.”
Behind super import Mike Harris, the Aces mounted their sole comeback in the second frame; they cut the lead to as low as seven points, 42-35, with 6:20 left. However, stellar guard play by the Hotshots let them weather the rally.
Harris paced Alaska with 26 points and 24 rebounds.
From there, Magnolia had answers for every Alaska bucket, leading by as much as 20 points, 85-65, with 10:32 left.
The remnants from their last championship, Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca, also had an imprint in the rout. The former finished with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while the latter tallied 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal.
Paul Lee – who won his first championship with the Purefoods franchise– had 16 markers as well, while Jalalon added 11 points, five assists, four rebounds, and a steal to lead the bench mob.
After a grueling series, the final 12 minutes of the game became a mere countdown, as the lead would not fall below double-digits.
“Sobrang saya ko kasi lahat ng pinagpaguran namin from last year – natuto kami sa semifinals last year, and then this year sa Finals sa first conference,” reflected Victolero. “It boiled down to this game. Sobrang proud ako sa mga players.”
Chris Banchero had 20 points, while Jeron Teng added 14 markers.
This is the first time a PBA club team has clinched a championship at the 18-year-old venue.
Magnolia 102 – Travis 32, Sangalang 16, Lee 16, Barroca 13, Jalalon 11, Dela Rosa 7, Herndon 5, Brondial 2, Melton 0, Reavis 0.
Alaska 86 – Harris 26, Banchero 20, Teng 14, Enciso 9, Cruz 6, Racal 5, Baclao 4, Thoss 2, Pascual 0, Casio 0, Galliguez 0, Magat 0.
Quarterscores: 32-18, 60-42, 80-63, 102-86.
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