The 1-2 punch of Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang came up big to lift the Magnolia Hotshots to a 106-99 win over the NLEX Road Warrios in Game Three of their 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals, Wednesday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Jalalon and Sangalang spearheaded Magnolia’s game-sealing 11-4 run in the final frame, to help the Hotshots gain a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Magnolia have the chance to take a 3-1 lead in Game Four on Friday, March 16.
The sophomore Jalalon top-billed for the Hotshots with 25 points along with five rebounds and three assists, while the six-foot-seven Sangalang provided 24 markers on 10-of-15 shooting together with seven caroms.
“Kagabi, ka-text ko yang si Jio. Sabi ko na in order to establish himself sa PBA, he needs this series to get his confidence. Happy ako na nag-respond siya sa challenge ko,” said head coach Chito Victolero.
“And, thankful ako na nag-step up yung guards and big men namin especially Ian. We are undermanned but we managed to dig deep,” added the second-year Hotshots mentor. “But again, it’s all about the team effort”
The Hotshots played a hungrier Road Warriors this time, and it was evident in the payoff period as the match saw three deadlocks in the frame’s opening minutes. But Magnolia found their ways to respond.
And with 6:25 remaining, the Hotshots finally found their rhythm on both ends. Jalalon’s leaner made it 93-89, and it sparked an 11-4 run — ended by Sangalang’s lay-up — to erect a 102-93 advantage with 2:38 left to play.
The Road Warriors failed to mount any rally, as their shots could no longer hit their target, sealing the victory for the the Hotshots.
Forward Rome Dela Rosa, who started in the match, provided 17 points and seven rebounds. Paul Lee continued his offensive surge, as he unloaded 14 points on three treys on top of six assists and three rebounds for Magnolia.
Kiefer Ravena led NLEX with 20 markers on a dismal 6-of-16 shooting and five assists. Kevin Alas had 15 points and nine rebounds, JR Quiñahan provided 13 points and five dimes, and Michael Miranda chipped in 11 points.
Magnolia 106 – Jalalon 25, Sangalang 24, Dela Rosa 17, Lee 14, Ramos 7, Simon 7, Barroca 6, Herndon 4, Reavis 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0.
NLEX 99 – Ravena 20, Alas 15, Quinahan 13, Miranda 11, Fonacier 10, Mallari 9, Al-Hussaini 8, Gotladera 6, Tiongson 3, Taulava 2, Baguio 2.
Quarterscores: 24-27, 51-53, 79-78, 106-99
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