Energy guy Jio Jalalon and “ironman” Mark Barroca led the mighty charge as gear-switching Magnolia overran NLEX, 87-73, to catch its victims at 4-3 in the PBA Philippine Cup Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jalalon, a member of the All-Defensive Team last season, provided the defensive spark as the Hotshots opened the third with a 19-2 exchange to surge ahead after falling behind by as many as 15 in the second.
Barroca, marking a personal milestone with his 500th consecutive game since 2011, picked it up from there, scoring 10 in a 12-0 blast that sent the Hotshots to their first twin-digit lead, 63-53.
With the backcourt dynamos as anchor, slow-starting Magnolia outscored NLEX in the second half, 55-27, to completely turn the match around.
This was rooted from the Hotshots’ stifling defense coming off the break, which held the Road Warriors to a meager 25.8 percent clip (8-of-31) after a solid 42.1 percent (16-of-38) in the initial 24 minutes.
“Sobrang hirap ng panalong ito. Noong first half, hindi namin alam paano kami oopensa at kulang sa energy. Nakabawi naman kami nung second half, especially sa defense. Yung ang laging sinasabi nila coach (Chito Victolero), grind lang nang grind hanggang matapos,” said Jalalon.
Barroca led the Magnolia scoring parade with 18 followed by Jalalon with his 16-point, six-rebound, nine-assist, three-steal performance, and Aris Dionisio and Ian Sangalang with 14 and 12, respectively.