It is no secret that the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel are heavily favored to win their third straight Governors’ Cup title this season, and odds are also on their side for them to finish off the Magnolia Hotshots in the semis easily.
These expectations came into discussion when the crowd darlings defeated their sister team yet bitter rivals last October 28 at SMART Araneta Coliseum, 93-86 – the victory that helped the Barangay bag a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
But that didn’t stop Magnolia from believing they could beat Ginebra.
And they did.
The Hotshots sent shockwaves out across Antipolo City on Saturday night, as they overcame the Gin Kings and their raucous supporters at the Ynares Center with a rousing 106-98 victory to earn a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series.
“Just keep believing lang na kaya naming manalo against Ginebra. Yun yung battle cry namin ngayon. Si coach Johnny [Abarrientos] nag-start nun, siya kasi nagsa-scout ‘pag Ginebra so sabi niya, you need to believe,” said Paul Lee.
“Pinupukpok sa amin na we need to believe na we can win, we can do this as a team.
“Everyone naniwala, collective effort and end of the game, nakuha namin yung panalo,” added Lee, who finished with 27 points.
The Hotshots still had to weather a flurry of Ginebra attacks. From allowing them to score 39 in the opener, they limited the Gin Kings to just 16 in the second – Justin Brownlee was held scoreless in that frame, after having 20.
And when Ginebra stormed back from 14 down to just a field goal with less than four minutes left to play, Magnolia showed composure, as Lee scored nine of the Hotshots’ last 11 points to shut the door close for the Barangay.
“Yun yung one good thing na nangyari, yung composure ng team. Weather the storm lang naman eh.
“Sobrang init ni Justin nung first quarter. We just play through it. Ganun yung kailangan gawin just to beat Ginebra,” said Lee proudly.
But as much as everyone in the Hotshots camp is ecstatic with Saturday’s win, Lee remains wary of the way Ginebra will fight back in Game Two on Monday.
“The job is not yet finished. Knowing coach Tim [Cone], you beat him once, he’s gonna beat you twice. We need to be ready,” said the 29-year-old. “The good thing is we have the experience already na ganun yung nangyari.
“Kailangan ready na sa Game Two, forget about Game One tapos na yun. Zero-zero again.”
In first post-Bolick, Mocon game, Evan Nelle proves he can lead San Beda
Studies First: Nietos, two other Blue Eagles arrive late for PCCL semis clash
Mark Barroca excited as he makes ‘unexpected’ Gilas return after 8 years
Troy Rosario cleared to play for 6th window
Kai Sotto tops FIBA’s list of Asian U18 prospects
PBA Season 43 Leo Awards, Season 44 opening to be held in Philippine Arena
SOURCES: Norman Miguel set to take coaching reins of NU Lady Bulldogs
Two championships load up pressure on UP Lady Maroons
- Basketball2 days ago
Chooks-to-Go still gives Paul Desiderio own branch
- Basketball4 days ago
Justin Chua, Nico Salva glad to see each other thrive 7 years after 5-peat
- Basketball3 days ago
San Miguel responds to Alex Compton’s statement: ‘Each PBA team has a responsibility to form formidable squad’
- ADMU2 days ago
La Salle rolls to 4th straight win; UP picks up maiden PBL victory