Magnolia moved one win away from its first PBA Finals appearance since the 2019 edition of the All-Filipino conference after crushing Meralco, 81-69, Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots led by as many as 22 points in the game and weathered a late Bolts’ fightback after Mark Barroca converted a clutch three-pointer that secured the victory for the 14-time PBA champs.
The 5th overall pick of the 2011 PBA Draft finished with 17 points, 6 assists and 1 steal.
Ian Sanggalang and Calvin Abueva posted 17 points apiece for the 2014 PBA Grand Slam champs who now hold a commanding 3-1 advantage in the best-of-7 semifinals series.
“We expect the run eh. We expect the run. Hindi lang namin alam kung anong part nung game. But to weather that storm. Ayun lang yung sinabi ko sa mga bata na we need to stay composed. We know na babalik sila, this is not an easy game,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
“The experience of Mark (Barroca) and the experience of my players, kumbaga dumating sa kanila ‘yun eh. So we stayed composed in our last possession and then Mark hit the three. And that’s it, so we weathered that storm,” he added.
The Bolts had a multiple scoring run in the 4th period but they failed to even the series as they suffered an 11-point defeat at the hands of the determined Hotshots.
Reynel Hugnatan paced the Norman Black-mentored squad with 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field while Cliff Hodge tallied 13 markes, 5 boards and 2 dimes. Chris Newsome added 11 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists.
The scores :
Magnolia 81 – Barroca 17, Abueva 17, Sangalang 17, Jalalon 10, Lee 9, Ahanmisi 5, Dionisio 4, Corpuz 1, Reavis 1, Dela Rosa 0.
Meralco 69 – Hugnatan 21, Hodge 13, Newsome 11, Quinto 7, Pinto 6, Belo 3, Maliksi 2, Pasaol 3, Baclao 3, Caram 0.
Quarterscores : 23-18, 46-35, 68-50, 81-69.