SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Magnolia zoomed past Blackwater, 95-80, to end its 2020 PBA Philippine Cup eliminations campaign with six straight wins, Wednesday at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
The Hotshots ended up with a 7-4 record to tie with several other teams although their top-four aspirations are no more due to the quirk of the quotient, meaning that they will be at a twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
Runners-up in the last two all-Filipino conferences, Magnolia could either finish in seventh to face the no. 2 seed, or end up at eighth where they will take on the top-ranked Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
That, however, is the least of Coach Chito Victolero’s concerns. “Blessed talaga kami. Anong posisyon ka, 1 or 8 ka, ang importante dito is, you still have a chance,” said the champion bench tactician.
Ian Sangalang continued his solid play as he led the Hotshots with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Banchero finished with 14 points after scoring just a total of 12 in their last three outings. He also had six boards and five assists.
Rookie Aris Dionisio proved his worth yet again with 12 points, four caroms, and three blocks while Mark Barroca supplied 11 markers, six assists, and five steals as they will head into the next round as the hottest team.
Magnolia seized control of the match early where it scored 32 in the opening frame before pulling away for good in the second period, scoring five straight to make the 41-32 gap the closest Blackwater could ever get.
The Elite, though, continued to show signs of life but the Hotshots were just too much to handle. A Justin Melton three-pointer propelled them to their biggest lead of the game at 21, 90-69, with 3:03 left to play.
“Of course, gusto talaga namin magkaroon ng panalo before the end of eliminations. And nakuha namin yun para naman maging momentum sa amin yun papunta sa playoffs,” Victolero said.
Nino Canaleta had 14 points while Don Trollano made 13 and 10 to lead Blackwater, who absorbed its eighth straight loss to end a disappointing campaign with just two wins against nine losses.
Magnolia (95)- Sangalang 17 , Banchero 14, Dionisio 12, Barroca 11, Lee 10, Dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 8, Melton 3, Abundo 3, Corpuz 2, Reavis 2, Calisaan 2, Saitanan 2.
Blackwater (80) – Canaleta 14, Trollano 13, Sumang 9, Belo 8, Dario 8, Gabriel 8,Dennison 6, Escoto 4, Tolomia 4,Dario 3, Magat 3, Magat 3, Salem 3, Golla 0.
Quarterscores: 32-15, 48-36, 73-56, 95-80.