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THE Magnolia Hotshots took a 1-0 series lead after outlasting Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 10698, in Game One of their 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinals matchup Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

After erecting a double-digit advantage, the Hotshots saw its lead trimmed to three points, 94-91, with 4:06 remaining in the ballgame before overcoming the late surge of the Gin Kings to go home with the win.

Romeo Travis topscored for Magnolia with 37 points aside from hauling down 16 rebounds.

Paul Lee added 27 points while Justin Melton chipped in 11 markers for the Hotshots.

Justin Brownlee led Barangay Ginebra with 37 points and 14 rebounds. Meralco, Alaska start

semifinals duel

FOR all their playoff successes, the Alaska Milk Aces have not had much playoff history with the Meralco Bolts.

For both, it’s about pursuing a title aspiration as the Aces and the Bolts clash in their side of the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five semifinals, beginning Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

Both are riding a great wave of momentum going to Game One with the opening tip at 6:30 p.m.

Meralco has survived no less than six straight do-or-die matches while Alaska has got past powerhouse San Miguel Beer in their quarterfinals matchup.

The Bolts now pursue a third straight Governors’ Cup finale while Alaska has its sights set on a first title playoff in seven conferences.

“I have the highest respect for coach Norman, Meralco, Allen Durham and how hard they are playing. I was so impressed watching them play. I know we have a real battle on our hands in this series,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

In completing a great turnaround from a 1-6 start in the conference, Black, meanwhile, is now focused on pushing his team forward.

He’s now very positive with what they have achieved in their last six games and on how they’re playing going into the semis.

“A lot of these turnaround was caused by the all-around game of Allen Durham. He’s scoring, rebounding the ball, and defending. Then if he leads like that, his teammates are going to follow,” said Black.

And Black said all his players are just determined to stay in the hunt.

“It’s the desire of the players to continue winning. This conference, we’ve done well in the last two years with Allen. It would be pretty bad to get eliminated immediately. That’s why the body is fighting. We know we have a good import and all we need to do is to support him and give ourselves a chance of winning,” said Black.

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