The Magnolia Hotshots’ second half explosion completely destroyed the Kia Picanto, 124-77, and sent the struggling franchise to their 15th successive defeat, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
This equaled the Hotshots’ win over the Picanto last September 22 during the 2017 Governors’ Cup.
The Hotshots have perfectly bounced back from their Christmas Day 2017 loss to rivals Barangay Ginebra and have improved their card to 2-1. The Picanto, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3 and has yet to taste a win since May of 2017.
“This is the start of our first game of the year and I told my players to start it right,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Six Hotshots finished in double figures in the win.
Justin Melton led the pack with 23 points on top of six rebounds and eight assists, Ian Sangalang supplied 21 points and nine boards, and rookie Robert Herndon chipped in 14.
Magnolia was still in a tight contest with Kia in the first 24 minutes, but the game changed come the third canto when the former, behind Paul Lee, uncorked a 10-0 run to post the game’s first double-digit lead, 62-51, with 4:46 on the clock.
The match was never in doubt for the Hotshots after that as they kept on pounding Picanto in a variety of ways, eventually leading up to the nearly 50-point demolition. Melton continued to go hard up until the final buzzer.
“We had a good adjustment in the second half — they only scored 11 points in the third. We limited them to under 80 points which is our goal. Maganda ang depensa noong second half,” added Victolero on the victory.
Lee finished with 13 points — all in the third quarter — for Magnolia. The returning Jio Jalalon also made his presence felt with 11 markers, five rebounds, and three assists, while PJ Simon also scored 11.
JayR Reyes had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Kia. Ronald Tubid, Reden Celda, and Rashawn McCarthy all had 11 markers.
The loss have sent Kia into the history books for the wrong reason, as their skid has become the longest one in the league in the last 10 years. Moreover, three of their four franchise-worst losses came into the hands of Magnolia.
Both clubs will return to action this Sunday, January 14, still at the Big Dome. Kia will look to end their skid as they take on Alaska Aces at 4:30, while Magnolia will aim to make two in a row against NLEX Road Warriors at 6:45 PM.
Magnolia 124 – Melton 23, Sangalang 21, Herndon 14, Lee 13, Jalalon 11, Ramos 7, Gamalinda 6, Pingris 6, Pascual 4, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 2, Brondial 2.
Kia 77 – Reyes 12, McCarthy 11, Celda 11, Tubid 11, Corpuz 9, Yee 6, Paniamogan 5, Khobuntin 5, Jamon 3, Sara 2, Caperal 2, Cabrera 0, Ababou 0, Camson 0, Cabrera 0, Galanza 0.
Quarterscores: 22-22, 47-49, 81-58, 124-77.