WATCH: Magnolia vs Meralco LAST 2 MINUTES [SF Game 6 | 2021 Philippine Cup | Oct. 15, 2021]

Magnolia put in a more tenacious effort than Meralco to claim a 93-85 victory Friday and the first PBA Philippine Cup finals seat at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Ian Sangalang notched game-highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds in leading a Hotshots crew that outworked the Bolts for majority of the game to wrap up their best-of-seven semifinals duel 4-2 and advance to the similar race-to-four championship series against either San Miguel Beer or TNT.

Both Sangalang and coach Chito Victolero now hope the grueling experience they just went through would help toughen their team up in the finals.

“Nakita n’yo naman kung gaano kahirap mag-close ng series, sobrang hirap,” said Sangalang, who also added six assists and two steals.

“Pero kami ginawa lang naming talaga kung ano dapat gawin para ma-close ang series na ito,” added the 6-foot-7 slotman. “Once na nag-trabaho kami meron kaming chance manalo.”

“They gave us a very good series. Grabe rin silang mag-trabaho, grabe rin effort na ibinigay nila,” said Victolero, whose team got off to another flat start, even trailing by as many as 11 points early.

“But I give credit to my players, especially down the stretch. We executed. Grabe talaga trinabaho nila,” added Victolero. “Alam namin na sobrang mahihirapan kami. We faced the No. 2 team and grabe rin talaga effort na ibinibigay nila. Thank God, ibinigay niya rin sa amin ang lakas.”

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