Magnolia got its message across when it blew out Terrafirma to the tune of 114-87 Wednesday in the pro league’s first game back the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mike Harris marked his first game back on Philippine shores with a double-double of 30 points and 15 rebounds while Calvin Abueva had his own double-double of 17 points and 11 boards in leading the Hotshots’ surge that gained momentum as the game wore on.
Paul Lee added 16 points and Ian Sangalang and Aris Dionisio chipped in 10 points each in a balanced Magnolia attack that resulted in as much as a 114-80 spread.
His team hitting its immediate target obviously pleased winning coach Chito Victolero.
“Actually, iyan ang pinag-usapan namin. We want to start strong,” he said, before hinting they intend to not only reclaim the tournament crown it held in 2018 but also better their runner-up finish in the last Philippine Cup.
“We want to send a message right away,” stated Victolero.
Still, Victolero admitted there were some jitters brought about by not only a return to the Big Dome but also playing before a live audience, however limited due to the health and safety protocols both league and coliseum officials have put into place, for the first time since opening day in March 8 of last year.