Magnolia took the best NLEX could dish out and still came out with a 112-106 overtime victory Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.
Ian Sangalang emerged with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds, but it was Jio Jalalon who sparked the Hotshots’ crucial surge in the extension with seven of his 16 points before Calvin Abueva and Mark Barroca sealed the win from the stripe.
With the win, Magnolia wrapped up the best-of-three quarterfinals duel at 2-1 and advanced to the race-to-four semis against early qualifier TNT that starts Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Chito Victolero is simply glad his charges were able to overcome the Road Warriors’ tough stance and able to hit their immediate target of advancing to the final four.
“It boils down to this game, ‘yung journey namin this conference,” said Victolero. “I’m very proud kasi hindi kami nag-give up. That means the mental toughness, the grit and determination of the players.”
Victolero also took some time to thank NLEX for putting up its own gritty stand in the course of the game, which he said should help prepare his side for the next round.
“Hats off to coach Yeng (Guiao) and his team. They gave us a very, very good fight. Sobrang ganda laro nila. It boiled down to one possession, one rebound, one miss,” he pointed out.