Magnolia went 2-0 with new import Antonio Hester, imposing themselves against the beat-up Barangay Ginebra side and scoring a 118-88 triumph in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Sunday.
Up against rivals playing a fourth game in eight days, the Hotshots took advantage of the situation, storming to a 59-37 lead at the half and refusing to slow down to beat the Kings in their Clasico pre-Valentines showdown.
Magnolia pricked Ginebra’s bubble and handed the Gin Kings their first loss in four starts in the season-ending tourney.
It was a near wire-to-wire blowout that had the Hotshots catching up with the Terrafirma Dyip at seventh place at 2-3.
The Kings, meanwhile, dropped from the top all the way down to fifth place, now trailing joint leaders Converge (5-1), TNT (5-1) and San Miguel Beer (5-1) and solo fourth-running NLEX (4-1).
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said it was about battling and competing.
“Sabi namin let’s enjoy the defensive battle and made it sure na i-surpass namin ang effort ng Ginebra para lang magka-chance kami against a very tough team,” said Victolero.