Magnolia lived up to its billing not just as the top seed but the most dominant team all the way from the preseason On Tour series, fending off No. 8 TNT, 109-94, to claim the first berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Last 4 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig Friday.
Faced with a threat entering the last two minutes of the third, the Hotshots unleashed a 9-0 closing run in the period then opened with a 14-3 tear in the fourth to pull away en route to a semis spot versus the winner of the Meralco-Phoenix Super LPG matchup.
The Bolts and the Fuel Masters are to slug it out in a knockout duel Sunday at the MOA Arena as coach Luigi Trillo and his troops foiled Phoenix’ first of two cracks at the semis.
Meralco outlasted Phoenix in a marathon triple-overtime game, living to fight another game with a 116-107 victory.
Going for the same, the Tropang Giga seized the early initiative and, after a Magnolia rampage in the middle quarters, had their counterattack to regain the upper hand at 69-68 late in the third.
But the Hotshots were hardly daunted by the TNT run highlighted by back-to-back treys from RR Pogoy.
Tyler Bey and his teammates kept their composure and as they stepped up their pressing game, they regained control through the third and kept the pace to the finish.