Three nights since melting down to Phoenix Pulse, the Magnolia Hotshots redeemed themselves and vented their ire on the Alaska Aces, 103-86, Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Hotshots lost hold of a 19-point lead, as the Aces knocked within eight, 86-74, with seven minutes left in the final frame. But they then responded with a 17-4 run en route to a 101-80 cushion with 1:42 left to play, to seal the victory.
“Ynares has been good to us. Whenever we need a win dinadala kami rito,” quipped Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “Sabi ko lang sa kanila, we have to have the sense of urgency. Nag-start na yung playoffs para sa’min.”
Ian Sangalang powered Magnolia with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. Paul Lee flirted with a double-double of 20 points and eight rebounds, while Mark Barroca chipped in 19 points. Jio Jalalon chimed in 12 markers.
The win improved the Hotshots’ record to 2-4, and they are still very much alive in the quarterfinal race. But Victolero does not want to be confident of their chances yet, since they will be facing tough teams in their last five games.
Last season’s Philippine Cup finalists will soon take on the Columbian Dyip, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the NorthPort Batang Pier, the Blackwater Elite, and the NLEX Road Warriors, in that order.
“Hindi madali yung pagdadaanan namin,” Victolero said. “Hopefully maka-lusot kami. We just do it one game at a time.”
Chris Banchero had 26 points – 21 in the first half alone – on top of five rebounds and four assists to lead the Aces, who failed to sustain their momentum from a rousing 104-78 win over the Gin Kings last Sunday at the same venue.
Jeron Teng had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Ping Exciminiano supplied 12 markers for Alaska, who have now gone down to 3-3.
Both teams will see action again on Wednesday, March 13, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. Magnolia will face the rising Columbian Dyip at 4:30 PM. On the other hand, Alaska will battle the NLEX Road Warriors at 7:00 PM.
Magnolia 103 – Sangalang 24, Lee 20, Barroca 19, Brondial 12, Jalalon 12, Reavis 7, Ramos 3, Herndon 2, Melton 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 0.
Alaska 86 – Banchero 26, Teng 17, Exciminiano 13, Cruz 9, Ayaay 6, Enciso 5, Thoss 4, Pascual 4, Baclao 2, Galliguez 0, Andrada 0.
Quarterscores: 27-27, 54-42, 75-59, 103-86.