Magnolia moved on the cusp of a PBA on Tour sweep after defeating Phoenix 111-91 on Sunday, July 23 at the FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan.
The Hotshots committed to defense once more, as their dreaded backcourt tandem of Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca took care of the scoring, pulling away in the final set to extend their unbeaten streak to 11-0.
Jalalon was a driving force in the fourth quarter, finishing with 22 points, nine assists, and four steals, while Barroca contributed 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists to help the Hotshots sustain their perfect pre-season run.
Only leading by seven points, 91-84, midway through the final frame, the Hotshots pushed on the throttle and blasted the Fuel Masters with a 13-0 blitz led by Barroca, Jalalon, and Joseph Eriobu.
Magnolia had already taken a commanding 20-point lead, 104-84, with only 3:43 remaining in the game. All the Hotshots had to do from there was keep the Fuel Masters at bay, which they did admirably with their unwavering defense until the final minute of the game.
The Hotshots accomplished this despite the absence of key players Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang.
The only team standing in Magnolia’s way of a flawless run is Terrafirma Dyip, which it will face on Wednesday, July 26 at the same venue.