Chris Banchero immediately showed what he can bring to Magnolia as he helped the Hotshots dismantle Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 97-81, in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Fil-Italian cager, whom the Hotshots acquired last week from the Alaska Aces in exchange for Rodney Brondial and Robbie Herndon, had himself a solid debut with 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists in over 22 minutes.
Banchero was also instrumental down the stretch. When the Fuel Masters knocked to within single digits, his lay-up with 2:35 left re-established their double-digit lead, 87-77, and the Hotshots would cruise to the 16-point victory.
“Maganda ‘yung binigay niya sa amin. ‘Yung hustle niya, ‘yung energy, ‘yung kanyang push ng bola, ‘yung depensa niya,” lauded Magnolia coach Chito Victolero of Banchero. “Sabi ko nga sa inyo another fresh legs para sa bench namin.”
Romeo Travis top-billed for Magnolia with 20 points — including 16 in the first half as he helped the Hotshots post a 28-12 lead early in the second frame — along with 15 rebounds and eight assists that hiked its record to 5-4.
Ian Sangalang had 17 points and five rebounds while Paul Lee provided 15 markers and six assists.
Alonzo Gee made 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead Phoenix Pulse, who absorbed its seventh loss in nine games.
Matthew Wright produced 19 points as Alex Mallari chimed in 13 markers for the Fuel Masters, who actually got to within three points, 54-57, with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter until the defending champions regained steam.
“Outhustled kami, outworked. Lahat ng hustle points, transition points, second-chance points, turnover points, almost seventy-percent yung point production nila. Parang yung chance namin manalo very slim,” lamented Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
Magnolia will look to get going versus the top-seeded NLEX (7-1) on Sunday, November 10, at Ynares Center in Antipolo, while Phoenix Pulse battles Alaska (2-6) next Wednesday, November 13, at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia 97 – Travis 20, Sangalang 17, Lee 15, Banchero 10, Jalalon 9, Dela Rosa 8, Barroca 7, Melton 6, Pingris 4, Reavis 1.
Phoenix 81 – Gee 24, Wright 19, Mallari 13, Perkins 8, Napoles 7, Jazul 4, Garcia 3, Chua 2, Marcelo 1, Intal 0, Dennison 0, Kramer 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 41-31, 69-60, 97-81