Mag­no­lia siz­zles in fourth quar­ter to beat Alaska, leads se­ries, 2-0

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FEATURE! -

From a ru­n­away Game One win, Mag­no­lia Pam­bansang Manok went through a tough de­fen­sive game in Game Two but pulled through just the same.

The Hot­shots over­came the Aces in a tough, tough grind Fri­day night, squeez­ing out a 77-71 win for a com­mand­ing 20 lead in the PBA Gov­er­nors Cup best-of-seven fi­nale at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum.

"From prac­tice yes­ter­day, we ex­pected a dog­fight. We ex­pected a dif­fer­ent Alaska team na malakas ang en­ergy at matindi ang ef­fort," said Mag­no­lia coach Chito Vi ct ol er o.

"First half, hindi kami makasabay, lagi kam­ing a step late. Talo sa la­hat. Sabi ko sa half­time, kung hindi tayo makakasabay sa se­cond half, di tayo man­analo. It's on the play­ers, they re­sponded in the se­cond half," Vic­tolero added.

Jio Jalalon scored five of his seven points in the last three min­utes and helped the Hot­shots through at the fin­ish.

"Sa de­pensa namin sa fourth quar­ter nagsim­ula. Dahil sa de­pensa nakakuha kami ng ma­g­a­n­dang run. It's about men­tal tough­ness and the de­sire to win," said Jalalon, pick­ing up from where he left off in Game One as he also piled up seven re­bounds and seven as­sists in an­other su­perb all-around game.

Romeo Travis col­lected 25 points, nine re­bounds and three as­sists as he also fac­tored big time as the Hot­shots moved two game away from win­ning the sea­son-end­ing tour­ney.

It was a grip­ping de­fen­sive bat­tle the Hot­shots won as they held the Aces score­less in the last five min­utes of the game.

Mag­no­lia was down, 70-71, be­fore the cru­cial stretch.

The two teams stuck with the same units that they started in Game One, but Paul Lee had to come early off the bench as Rob Hern­don drew two quick fouls.

Shortly be­fore the sound of the buzzer, Ping Ex­ci­mini­ano scored on a break­away layup off an er­ror by Justin Mel­ton as the Aces took the open­ing quar­ter at 22-20.

Then the Aces pressed harder, lim­it­ing the Hot­shots to 16 points to make it 41-36 at the hal f.

The most glar­ing ad­van­tage for the Aces in the first half was their 27 re­bounds as against the Hot­shots' 18.

The Hot­shots trailed most of the way but didn't al­low the Aces to lead by more than nine.

Down 61-65 through the first three quar­ters, the Hot­shots even­tu­ally had their first taste of the lead at 66-65 on a 5-0 binge from a char­ity by Ian San­galang, a break­away layup by Rome dela Rosa and a long twin­ner from Lee.

And the Hot­shots played tough all the way t hr ough.( SB)

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