Blowing a won game in regulation, Magnolia took it just the same in overtime, repelling Meralco, 97-88, to formalize entry into the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
Aris Dionisio fired a three-pointer to open their OT salvo sustained by Mark Barroca and Paul Lee as the Hotshots stretched their streak to five games and secured a sure quarterfinals seat with a 6-3 win-loss mark overall.
The lethal guard combination of Lee, Barroca and Jio Jalalon combined for 60 points in all with Ian Sangalang and Dionisio chipping in 12 and 10, respectively, as Magnolia ended Meralco’s own romp and stalled the Bolts at 5-4.
At 6-3, coach Chito Victolero and his Hotshots caught up with the Ginebra Kings at third place.
They can pull even with the TNT Tropang Giga at second place at 8-3 with a sweep of their last two games against Rain or Shine and Blackwater. Even then, they would settle for a place in the best-of-three quarterfinals with their inferior quotient.
Still, Victolero said the goal is to win as many games possible and try to keep the momentum going to the post-elims play.
Despite the loss, Meralco remained inside the Top Six. The Bolts also chase a spot in the best-of-three quarters as they play the San Miguel Beermen and the Terrafirma in their last two outings.