Magnolia continued its resurgence in the PBA Governors’ Cup with replacement import Antonio Hester.
With Hester leading a fiery second half, the Hotshots ran over NLEX, 119-103, to streak to three straight wins after a woeful 0-3 start Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Hester, who took over from original reinforcement Eric McCree, produced 37 points, 15 rebounds and five assists as he joined forces with Jio Jalalon, who dished out a near 17-9-10 triple-double as well as Paul Lee (18), Jio Jalalon (17), Aris Dionisio (13) and Mark Barroca (13) in enabling Magnolia to reach the .500 mark for the first time.
NLEX seemed about to blow the Hotshots away as it seized a 66-55 tear in the third following a blazing restart.
But a triple by Hester started the turnaround for Chito Victolero’s charges, who ended the period with a 33-13 salvo to wrest a nine-point spread.
The Hotshots kept their foot on the pedal and widened the lead to as high as 21, 108-87, to cruise to victory.
“Bad start pagpasok ng third then nag-timeout si coach Chito (Victolero) and na-feel namin na kailangang magtrabaho talaga, grind lang ng grind because NLEX is a very dangerous team,” said Jalalon who dropped 11 in the game-changing third.