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Tiebreaker Times


Magnolia eliminates Meralco, advances to PBA Finals

Magnolia became the first team to enter the 2021 PBA Honda Philippine Cup Finals by finishing off Meralco, 93-85, in Game Six of the semis, Friday evening at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Hotshots bucked a sluggish start and a couple of misfortunes on the way to booking their third trip to the all-Filipino conference finale in four seasons. This is now the storied franchise’s 31st time overall to vie for a title.

They now await the winner between San Miguel and TNT, which plays in the deciding Game Seven on Sunday, October 17.

“Credit to all of them kasi grabe talaga ‘yung tinrabaho nila,” said head coach Chito Victolero. “Alam namin na sobrang mahihirapan kami. We faced the no. 2 team, talagang grabe yung effort din ni Meralco na binigay. Thank God talaga.”

Ian Sangalang was at the forefront of the victory with his 19 points and 14 rebounds for his 10th double-double performance of the conference. He also collected six assists, three blocks, and two steals in over 41 minutes.2021-PBA-Philippine-Cup-semis-meralco-vs-magnolia-ian-sangalang-2 Magnolia eliminates Meralco, advances to PBA Finals Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

But it wasn’t just him who delivered the victory as Rome Dela Rosa showed again that he has embraced being a two-way player by firing 16 points on a 62-percent clip, including an impressive 5-of-8 from deep.

One of his three-pointers gave Magnolia a 36-35 advantage with four minutes remaining in the second quarter, their first lead of the game after allowing the Bolts to open up the match with 11 unanswered points.

And when the opposition came to within just four after trailing by as much as 11, the second-generation cager sank his last shot from the outside to push the Hotshots’ lead back to nine, 83-74, with 8:10 to go in the game.

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“We trained Rome to become a two-way player. That’s what we trained in the offseason. We give Rome the confidence to shoot outside and he delivered,” said Victolero as Dela Rosa also hauled down five rebounds.

Mark Barroca finished with 16 points as well, none bigger than the lay-up he made with 1:44 left that gave them an 89-80 to strike the dagger.

Calvin Abueva had 11 points and six rebounds although he fouled out of the match with 4:36 to go. Jio Jalalon also chimed in 11 as a total of five Hotshots finished in double figures on a night Paul Lee was off.

The former BPC, who’s playing through a hurt shoulder, only finished with four points as he missed all of his nine shots from the floor.

“Nagtulong-tulong lang kami,” said Victolero. “‘Yun lang naman sinabi ko sa kanila, no pressure, no expectations, just play hard, give their multiple effort on defense and offense, and the results will come.

Meanwhile, Raymond Almazan had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Meralco, who once again exited the Philippine Cup semis.

Chris Newsome made 14 points, Allein Maliksi supplied 13 points despite nursing a fractured cheekbone, as Nards Pinto chimed in 10 although he never returned after suffering cramps during the third quarter.

This is now the end of the line for the Bolts, who finished the eliminations as the second seed with a 9-2 card — their best in franchise history.

The Scores:

Magnolia 93 – Sangalang 19, Barroca 16, Dela Rosa 16, Jalalon 11, Abueva 11, Melton 6, Reavis 6, Corpuz 4, Lee 4, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0.

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Meralco 85 – Almazan 16, Newsome 14, Maliksi 13, Pinto 10, Hodge 9, Quinto 7, Caram 7, Hugnatan 6, Belo 3, Black 0, Pasaol 0, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 20-27, 44-40, 72-68, 93-85.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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