Magnolia sent NorthPort crashing back down to earth through a 109-91 decimation to stretch its unbeaten run to five in the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots actually allowed the Batang Pier to start the match at 5-0, but it proved to be the only time that they would trail by finishing the first quarter with a 30-20 lead, setting the tone for the mauling that took place eventually.
“We were 0-5 and then nakabawi,” said lead assistant coach Jason Webb. “Then like yung sinasabi ni Mark [Barroca], that is something that coach Chito [Victolero] has been talking about to the players, that we have to start out strong in the games.
“Luckily naman, the last few games, we started out strong, we’ve gotten the lead, once we’ve gotten the lead, the players that we have, they know how to handle it. It’s a recipe for success,” he furthered.
Nick Rakocevic led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds in the victory that kept Magnolia’s hold of the top spot firmly.
Mark Barroca finished with 13 points and eight assists, while the trio of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jio Jalalon, and Ian Sangalang all chipped in 10 markers apiece for the Hotshots, who led by 21 points thrice in the final period.
The victory is surely a huge morale booster for Chito Victolero’s wards heading to their Manila Clasico duel with Ginebra next Sunday at the MoA Arena.
“Sabi nga namin, dati pa naman dito, ‘pag Ginebra ang kalaban, hindi na kailangan i-motivate yung bawa’t isa eh,” offered Barroca.
Meanwhile, Kevin Ferrer had 19 points to lead NorthPort, who did not have Arwind Santos following a maintenance procedure on his knee.
Robert Bolick had 15 markers in the loss, indeed a disappointing one for the crew of Pido Jarencio especially after a come-from-behind win against Blackwater just mere nights ago in the very same venue.
NorthPort (3-3) will face yet another tall task as it battles San Miguel next on October 26, Wednesday, 5:45 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Magnolia 109 – Rakocevic 26, Barroca 13, Ahanmisi 10, Jalalon 10, Sangalang 10, Corpuz 9, Lee 7, Abueva 6, Dela Rosa 6, Escoto 5, Dionisio 3, Mendoza 2, Wong 2, Reavis 0, Laput 0.
NorthPort 91 – Ferrer 19, Bolick 15, Ibeh 11, Tolentino 11, Ayaay 10, Salado 6, Chan 5, Balanza 5, Sumang 3, Calma 2, Taha 1, Caperal 0, Dela ruz 0.
Quarterscores: 30-20, 56-39, 86-65, 109-91.