League-leading Magnolia fully bared its defensive fangs against Blackwater to fashion a cruising 91-69 victory Sunday and get back on the winning track in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The frontline duo of Nick Rakocevic and Ian Sangalang each had 17 points while Jio Jalalon flirted with a double-double through 13 points and nine assists, but it was the Hotshots making the necessary stops that spelled the big difference in the match.
As a result, Magnolia neutralized a 97-103 loss to Barangay Ginebra last Oct. 23 and improved to a 6-1 record overall after limiting Blackwater to the lowest output in the conference.
“This is probably our best defensive game of the year, that’s the key there,” said Jason Webb, who subbed for head coach Chito Victolero during the post-game interview.
“We got back to our identity of playing very good defense. That’s what was preached the entire two weeks,” added Webb.
Indeed, it was a stark departure from the 96.7 points the Hotshots allowed in its first six games and was largely made possible by the Bossing being held to a 25-of-62 field shooting and 22 turnovers, almost half of those off the former’s 10 steals.
It was not as easy as it looked, however, as Magnolia needed to shake off some of the rust that accumulated during its break that was prolonged when its game against Rain or Shine last Saturday was cancelled due to the threat of Typhoon Paeng.