Magnolia’s lightning struck Meralco anew as the Hotshots again came from behind to fashion a 94-80 victory over the Bolts Wednesday at the start of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals duel at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Much like in their lone elimination round meeting, Magnolia used a big third quarter surge to come charging back from a sizable deficit before continuously pouring on the heat and taking the headstart in the best-of-five series.
For coach Chito Victolero, the turnaround should be attributed to his Hotshots playing their brand of defensive basketball.
“Very slow start. I talked to my players (at halftime) and I told them that if we cannot match the intensity and aggressiveness of Meralco we’ll have a hard time winning this game,” related Victolero, whose team trailed by as much as 16-33 although it whittled the Bolts’ lead to just 43-35 at the half.
“In the second quarter we started playing the Magnolia Hotshots basketball, which is our aggressiveness, our effort,” added Victolero. “It started with our defense. Magandang depensa ipinakita namin sa second half.”
Indeed, Magnolia outscored Meralco, 29-13, in the pivotal third period after holding the Bolts to just a 5-for-15 field shooting and harassing them to committing six turnovers. In contrast, the Hotshots made half of their 20 field goals.