Top seed Hotshots claim first semis seat

Magnolia proved why they are the top seed and the most dominant team throughout the preseason On Tour series by defeating reigning Governors’ Cup champion and No. 8 seed TNT, 109-94, Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

The victory gave the Hotshots the first seat in the semifinal round of the season-opening conference where they’ll face the winner of the Meralco vs Phoenix series.

The Bolts and the Fuel Masters will battle it out in a knockout duel on Sunday at the MOA Arena, as Meralco managed to prevent higher-seeded Phoenix from securing a spot in the semis by pulling off a marathon triple-overtime win, 116-107.

During the game, the Tropang Giga took control early on and, despite a strong performance from Magnolia in the middle quarters, were able to regain the lead at 69-68 towards the end of the third quarter.

However, the Hotshots were not discouraged by the TNT run, which included consecutive three-pointers from RR Pogoy.

Tyler Bey and his teammates maintained their composure and increased their defensive pressure, eventually regaining control in the third quarter and maintaining their pace until the end.

Bey played exceptionally well, scoring 41 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, making five steals, blocking three shots, and recording two assists, although he did have four turnovers.

“It builds our character, especially we talked about our last game, the Meralco game which was the start of our playoff game,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero during the postgame press conference. “We learned a lot from that especially our import, he learned about the physicality of the game and how to play in the playoff.”

“And also, ‘yung free throws namin, it’s so bad. Good thing we have at least 10, 11 days before this game and lahat no’ng adjustment, lahat no’ng kulang namin, gagawan namin (ng paraan),” he added.

Mark Barroca added 17 points while the veteran frontcourt tandem of Ian Sangalang ang Calvin Abueva chipped in 12 markers apiece.

The scores:

Mangolia 109 – Bey 41, Barroca 17, Sangalang 12, Abueva 12, Jalalon 9, Lee 7, Dionisio 4, Laput 3, Dela Rosa 2, Ahanmisi 2, Corpuz 0, Tratter 0, Eriobu 0.

TNT 94 – Hollis-Jefferson 27, Oftana 20, Pogoy 17, Aurin 13, K.Williams 9, Heruela 4, Montalbo 2, Galinato 2, Khobuntin 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Ponferrada 0.

Quarterscores: 21-23, 50-44, 77-69, 109-94.

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