Magnolia secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with a convincing 88-80 victory over Converge in the PBA 48th Season Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
The Hotshots displayed their dominance by going on a 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter, effectively shutting down the FiberXers and securing their ninth win in 10 games. This impressive performance guarantees them one of the four quarterfinal incentives in the conference.
In addition, Magnolia’s win eliminated Converge from the quarterfinal race, as they now hold a disappointing 1-8 record, tying them with Blackwater for last place.
In the first half, Tyler Bey struggled to find his rhythm, only scoring five points. However, he made an impressive comeback in the second half, delivering a total of 27 points.
Jio Jalalon also had a solid performance, contributing 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Hotshots. On the other hand, Calvin Abueva made his season debut on Saturday and made an impact off the bench, scoring six points, four of which came during a crucial fourth-quarter run. He also grabbed seven rebounds in the game.
Despite a slow start in the first half, Magnolia managed to turn things around and secure a victory. They trailed by as many as eight points, 34-26, at halftime but showed resilience and determination to come out on top.
“’Yung last two minutes ng second quarter, doon nag-start ‘yung energy namin. ’Yung sinabi ko sa halftime, wala talaga kaming energy nung first half. We are just trying to be there pero hindi kami nakikipag-compete,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero during the post-game presser.
“Good thing, ‘yung mga players, na-realize nila na we will not win this game if we don’t work hard. In the second half, we adjusted at naging maganda ‘yung takbo ng execution namin on both ends of the floor,” he added.