Hotshots pull off come-from-behind win over Bolts in semis opener

Top seeded Magnolia pulled off a 94-80 come-from-behind win over 4th-seeded Meralco in Game 1 of their best-of-five semifinal series in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

Jio Jalalon provided the spark as the Hotshots bounced back from a sluggish first half by outscoring the Bolts in the 3rd quarter, 29-13, to take control of the match after trailing by as much as 17 halfway in the 2nd canto. The 5-foot-8 spitfire finished with 15 points, 9 in the pivotal 3rd, to go with 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 27 minutes of action.

“Ver slow start. I talked to my players (at halftime) and I told them that if we cannot match the intensity and aggressiveness of Meralco we’ll have a hard time winning this game,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero during the post-game presser.

“In the second quarter we started playing the Magnolia Hotshots basketball, which is our aggressiveness, our effort. It started with our defense. Magandang depensa ipinakita namin sa second half,” he added.

Mike Harris paced the Hotshots with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field plus a perfect 5-of-5 from the 15-foot line. The former Alaska reinforcement also had a game-high 16 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in 41 minutes of play. Paul Lee added in 13 points while Calvin Abueva and Mark Barroca chipped in 12 and 9 markers, respectively.

Former Magnolia guard Chris Banchero led the Bolts with 16 points while Bong Quinto contributed 13. Meralco import Tony Bishop only scored 10 points on 5-of-19 field goal shooting to go with 12 boards and a game-high 5 turnovers.

Game 2 is set on Friday, March 25 at the same venue.

The scores:

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

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