Magnolia entered the halftime break down by double digits against a determined NLEX side but bounced back strong in the remaining two quarters to pull off an 87-73 victory Saturday night in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The backcourt tandem of Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon joined forces in the 3rd frame as the Hotshots unleashed a 19-2 run and finished with 33 points compared to the Road Warriors’ 12 to take control of the game going into the payoff period.
Barroca paced the Chito Victolero-mentored squad with 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 2-of-8 coming from long distance. The 36-year old native of Zamboanga City, who achieved a career milestone by playing in his 500th straight game, added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 33 minutes of action.
“Mapapansin mo ‘yung rhythm namin nung first half talagang wala eh. Parang ang hirap namin kumuha ng rhythm. ‘Yun lang ‘yung pinag-usapan namin nung third: Kailangan ‘yung attack mode nandoon. Magsimula kami sa depensa,” said Victolero shortly after the Hotshots picked up their 4th win, 3rd consecutive, against 3 defeats.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila we’re in the middle of the tournament so everybody, nagle-level up na yung game. Lahat ng teams maganda yung nilalaro, so kailangan lang namin mag-step up na,” he added.
Jalalon, who has chosen as Best Player of the Game, scored 16 points, hauled down 6 rebounds, issued 9 assists and stole the ball 3 times. Aris Dionisio had 14 boards and 8 rebounds while Ian Sangalang contributed 12 markers and 9 boards.
Calvin Abueva returned from a one-game suspension due to ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ and had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in 27 minutes of play.