Magnolia executed its gameplan to the letter and had little trouble in beating NorthPort, 112-74, Friday to take the PBA Commissioner’s Cup solo leadership at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots put up a solid defense that stymied Batang Pier import Venky Jois’ threat inside while Tyler Bey spearheaded a balanced offense which boosted the former to the wire-to-wire win and the most lopsided victory so far in the young season.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said the main factor to their surge to an early 28-8 lead, as much as a 38-point spread and ultimately into a 3-0 record was his players translating the determination they displayed in practice into game.
“Credit to the players. I’m very proud. They’re so focused and they have that mindset na we need to play for 48 minutes against this team because we know na this is (going to be) a hard game for us,” related Victolero.
“So the preparation was so intense, the preparation was so focused. So credit to the players, they’re playing very, very well, not only one player but the whole team” added Victolero.
Jois, who went into the game averaging 36.5 points and 15.5 rebounds, repeatedly found himself running smack into a veritable wall when Magnolia fielded three big men that collapsed on him whenever he tried to attack the basket.
The Australian-Indian did finish with 16 points and eight rebounds, but those came too few and too far between as NorthPort was handed a harsh reality check that dropped it to a 2-1 slate.
Arvin Tolentino took team scoring honors for NorthPort with 23 points but 16 of those came in the fourth period and were not enough stop Magnolia from continuing to stretch the lead it has built up to 82-47 at the end of the third quarter.