Greg Slaughter of Ginebra uses his height advantage as he prepares to take a shot against Rafi Reavis of Magnolia in the second game of the semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jun Mendoza
Ultra-hot Hotshots on cusp of finals
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Magnolia continued to outwork and outfox reigning two-time champion Barangay Ginebra, controlling the tempo almost all throughout on sheer hard work and went on to move on the brink of the PBA Governors Cup Finals with a 101-97 win last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We know we’re the underdogs and our only chance to win is to work hard and double our effort. That’s our mindset, and, good thing, we’re doing just that,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero as they made it two in a row over the Kings for the crucial 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semis series.

Romeo Travis, Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee and Rome dela Rosa best demonstrated their persistence as they duplicated their 106-98 win in the series opener Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center.

Tomorrow also at the Big Dome, the Hotshots take their first of three cracks at closing out the series.

“Importante sa lahat makapag-pahinga. Yun muna then we’ll prepare mentally and make minor adjustments in our game,” said Victolero.

“It’s good to be up 2-0 but it’s not yet over. We also took a 2-0 lead (in a best-of-seven series) against them in last year’s all-Filipino semis and we lost in the end. We remember that, at gagawin naming inspirasyon yan,” Victolero also said.

With their dogged determination and spirited game, the Hotshots dominated the Kings much to the disappointment of the Ginebra diehards.

Coach Tim Cone failed to see the end of their second straight loss as he incurred two technical fouls in the third quarter. But even the exit of the Ginebra coach didn’t change the complexion of the game.

Travis came through with a solid all-around game with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists while Sangalang, Lee and Dela Rosa added double-digit outputs for the Hotshots who were in the lead for almost the entire game except for a few moments in the first quarter.

The Kings actually waged a chase at the finish but failed to send the game into overtime on a miss each from the three-point arc by LA Tenorio and Justin Brownlee.

As in Game One, the Hotshots controlled Ginebra’s key local players including Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.

“Credit to our guys, even when they’re tired they kept on pressuring the ball, defending and executing on offense. I have to make mention on our import, our guards,” said Victolero.

The scores:

Magnolia 101 – Travis 25, Sangalang 17, Lee 14, Dela Rosa 11, Barroca 9, Jalalon 8, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 5, Herndon 1.

Ginebra 97 – Brownlee 31, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Thompson 7, Mercado 7, Mariano 4, Chan 2, Caguioa 2, Ferrer 0. 

Quarterscores: 21-18, 47-46, 75-68, 101-97

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