Hot­shots too hot for slug­gish Kings

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By NEL­SON BEL­TRAN

Mag­no­lia sprang out of a rut in its head-on matches with fierce ri­val Barangay Gine­bra, bank­ing heav­ily on the big games of Romeo Travis and Paul Lee to carve out a 106-98 win in Game One of their PBA Gov­er­nors Cup best-of-five semi­fi­nal se­ries at the Ynares Sports Cen­ter in An­tipolo last night.

Travis poured in a PBA ca­reer-high of 37 points while Lee fired away 27, in­clud­ing tough clutch shots at the fin­ish as the Hot­shots snapped a seven-game los­ing skein ver­sus the Kings in an op­por­tune time at that.

The Hot­shots seek a 2-0 lead in the short se­ries in their next game over at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum at 7 p.m. to­mor­row.

Mean­while, Alaska Milk and Mer­alco, both up­beat and in high spir­its af­ter de­fy­ing great odds to make the Fi­nal Four, open their own semis play­off at 6:30 p.m., also at the Ynares Sports Arena.

“We stuck to the game plan. We started slow but we picked it up in the sec­ond quar­ter with both de­fense and of­fense. They’re a great team and we just tried to slow them down. There’s no way we can stop them, we just slowed them down,” said Travis af­ter help­ing the Hot­shots pull a first win over Gine­bra in over a year.

“Coach Johnny (Abar­ri­en­tos) de­vised a good game plan and we be­lieved in it. We stuck with it, and for­tu­nately it worked,” said Lee, the back-breaker with his cru­cial eight-point binge in the last three min­utes of the game.

The Kings erupted with 39 big points in the open­ing quar­ter but the Hot­shots turned the tempo in the sec­ond quar­ter, wrest­ing the lead at the half, 63-55, and play­ing tough all the way to gain­ing the cru­cial head start in the se­ries.

Travis and Lee them­selves led their sec­ond-quar­ter siege, along with Justin Mel­ton who scored 11 points off the bench. Travis and Lee had 16 points apiece in the first 24 min­utes. The scores: Mag­no­lia 106 – Travis 37, Lee 27, Mel­ton 11, San­galang 7, Bar­roca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 5, Pas­cual 4, Herndon 3, Bron­dial 0, Reavis 0.

Gine­bra 98 – Brown­lee 37, Aguilar 18, Teno­rio 13, Slaugh­ter 8, Thomp­son 7, Chan 5, Mar­i­ano 4, Fer­rer 4, Mer­cado 2.

Quar­ter­scores: 31-39, 63-55, 86-76, 106-98

JOEY MEN­DOZA

Adamson Fal­con Papi Sarr and UE Red War­rior Ja­son Strait reach out for the re­bound in a UAAP game yes­ter­day at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum.

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