After going toe to toe with NorthPort in the opening round, Magnolia turned on the heat in the second quarter and never looked back on the way to a 20-point rout, 129-109, Thursday night in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
With the score knotted at 31-all, the Hotshots went on a scoring barrage and entered the halftime break on top by 26, 74-47. The Batang Pier fought back in the 3rd canto and were able to trim the deficit to a manageable 13 points but the 2014 PBA Grand Slam champs refused to roll over and padded the lead back to 23 in the payoff period en route to their 5th win in 9 outings.
The Bonnie Tan-mentored squad, winners of their last 2 matches, absorbed their 7th defeat against 2 victories.
Antonio Hester paced the Hotshots with 28 points in just 30 minutes of action. He shot 12-of-17 from the field and 4-of-6 from the stripe, hauled down 14 rebounds, issued 3 assists and stole the ball once.
“At the start, we were so frustrated with our shots, the body language was not there. Masyado kaming nafu-frustrate sa mga shot namin na hindi pumapasok. Our defense, naapektuhan na rin,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero during the post-game presser.
“Good thing, naka-recover kami. We played good basketball after that, we shared the ball, we sacrificed, and we gave the effort that we wanted. It’s all about the execution and discipline on defense,” he added.
Mark Barroca added 21 points while Rome dela Rosa, who was named as the Best Player, had 19 points highlighted by 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc plus 6 boards.
“It starts with effort as always with this team. Everyone can contribute, and everyone’s going to do their part every game. Credit to the guys, credit to the coaches as well. Everyone was ready tonight,” said dela Rosa.
Calvin Abueva finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with 5 assists, 3 steals and a block while Paul Lee and Aris Dionisio chipped in 16 and 15 markers, respectively.
The Hotshots will shoot for win number 6 on Satuday, March 4, 6:45pm against the Terrafirma Dyip at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Magnolia 129 – Hester 28, Barroca 21, Dela Rosa 19, Abueva 18, Lee 16, Dionisio 15, Escoto 7, Jalalon 3, Mendoza 2, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Wong 0, Zaldivar 0, Corpuz 0.
NorthPort 109 – Murphy 31, Bolick 30, Munzon 11, Calma 9, Chan 8, Taha 6, Tolentino 4, Salado 4, Zamar 3, Sumang 2, Santos 0, Caperal 0, Balagasay 0.
Quarterscores: 31-31, 73-47, 98-84, 129-109.