After San Miguel took a 2-0 lead, many assumed the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals is already a forgone conclusion.
However, Magnolia battled back to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2 following another stifling defensive performance that propelled them to a convincing 96-85 victory against the Beermen at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, February 9.
Tyler Bey played his most impressive game of the series as the Hotshots limited San Miguel to under 90 points for the second straight contest and restrained Bennie Boatwright, who posted his lowest scoring output of the conference.
In an unusual turn of events where Boatwright was outplayed offensively, Bey tallied 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 assists to help Magnolia draw level – a situation that seemed unlikely after the lopsided first two games.
There was chatter about a potential sweep after San Miguel claimed the opening games by 32 combined points while averaging 106. But the Hotshots managed to turn the tables thanks to their vaunted defense, holding the Beermen to just 82.5 points over the last two games.
“That is one of our factors, our resiliency,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero during the post-game presser. “Right now, we just need to dig deep, we just need to grind. This is not over. We like our chances.”
Mark Barroca came through once again for the Hotshots with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks, while Paul Lee added 14 points as well.