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PBA: Abueva returns as Magnolia limits Meralco in semis opener


Magnolia rallied from behind to beat Meralco, 94-80, to draw first blood in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Hotshots started slow and fell behind by 17 in the second period, but turned things around come the second half on the way to stretching their mastery of the Bolts that dates back from the Philippine Cup semis in Bacolor.

Head coach Chito Victolero, however, was far from pleased as he expressed concern over yet another sluggish start by his wards.

“We need to fix that,” he said postgame. “Eliminations, first half, slow start. And now ganito rin. I need to address this with the team. We need to do something about this, because sometimes hindi kami maisasalba kung talagang bad start. So we need to address this problem.”

Mie Harris finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds as Magnolia gained a much-needed head start in the best-of-five series.

Jio Jalalon supplied 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists. The do-it-all guard was instrumental in that 12-3 run to finish the third quarter for a 64-56 lead, which the Hotshots protected the rest of the way.

Paul Lee had 13 points, while Calvin Abueva supplied 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists as he shrugged off a shoulder issue in the third.

“It’s very important, lalo na’t best-of-five lang and 1-0,” said Victolero. “But we prepare for possession by possession. We talked about it, the importance of playing the most important game, which is the game today.”

Magnolia’s defense was in full effect yet again most especially against Meralco import Tony Bishop, whom they limited to just 10 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

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“We have a defensive scheme against Bishop. Of course, we need to put up a defensive scheme because we knew he contributes a lot on offense, especially yung shooting niya,” said Victolero.

Chris Banchero led the Bolts with 16 points in the loss that saw the team commit 16 turnovers, which were converted to 21 points by their foes.

Game Two is on Friday, 6 p.m., still at the same venue, with the Hotshots definitely looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the race-to-three tilt.

The Scores:

Magnolia 94 – Harris 26, Jalalon 15, Lee 13, Abueva 12, Barroca 9, Dionisio 7, Dela Rosa 6, Wong 5, Sangalang 1, Brill 0, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0.

Meralco 80 – Banchero 16, Quinto 13, Bishop 10, Newsome 8, Maliksi 7, Black 7, Baclao 6, Hodge 5, Almazan 4, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2, Jose 0.

Quarterscores: 12-22, 35-43, 64-56, 94-80.

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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


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