MAGNOLIA EYES 3-0 FINALS LEAD

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Today’s Game (Ynares Center)

6:30 p.m. Magnolia vs

Alaska MAGNOLIA Hotshots waited four long years longing for a title since becoming the fourth team in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to have won a Grand Slam.

Exactly at 6: 30 p. m. today, the title hungry Magnolia Hotshots will try to move closer to ending a 12- conference drought in aiming for a commanding 3- 0 lead against Alaska Aces in the best- of- seven championship series of the 2018 PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Hotshots r ise above the Aces in a tightly fought Game Two Friday night to squeeze out a 7771 victory and take an imposing 2-0 lead in their titular series.

But Magnolia coach Chito Vi c tol e ro said Game Three will be the toughest and hardest in the series especially with what he saw with the Alaska Aces in the first half of Game Two.

"H ind i kam i makasabay sa kanila sa fisrt half, lagi kaming a step late. Talo sa lahat. Sabi ko sa players sa halftime, kung hindi tayo makakasabay sa second half, di tayo mananalo. It's on the players, they responded in the second half," said Victolero, who took the reins of the Hotshots starting the 2017 season.

Magnolia trailed in the first three quarters and need to claw back from a nine-point deficit at 46-55 before limiting the Aces to just six points in the fourth quarter and pouring in a total of 12 points where the Hotshots finally tasted the lead on a long jumper by Paul Lee.

"We really expected a dogfight. We expected a different Alaska team na malakas ang energy at matindi ang effor t . I know they will come back really stronger sa Game Three," said Victolero.

Victolero wi l l lean again on import Romeo Travis, who collected 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists and Jio Jalalon, who scored five of his seven points in the final three minutes in Game Two.

But Alaska Aces coach Alex Compton is not keen on just handiing the third consecutive victory for the Hotshots in the se- ries.

"I tel l you though, we're gonna keep on going and keep on going. We're going to battle," Compton said. "If this is a three- game series, it's over. But I don't think this is over yet."

Compton needs to draw better performance from Vic Manuel, Simon Enciso, Chris Banchero and import Mike Harris tonight. —A.O.

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