Chris Banchero of Alaska fires a shot from a difficult position as Kyle Pascual (back) and Justin Melton of Magnolia put on the pressure in Game two at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Joey Mendoza
Hotshots make it 2-0 with finishing kick
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2018 - 12:00am

Game tomorrow (Ynares-Antipolo)

6:30 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska

MANILA, Philippines — A lopsided Game One win, then an equally heartwarming triumph from a gripping Game Two battle.

Through two games, the Magnolia Hotshots showed tremendous will power, drubbing the Alaska Milk Aces, 77-71, in a  tight low-scoring showdown last night to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the PBA Governors Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jio Jalalon picked up from where he left off in Game One, striking hard at the finish to highlight another solid all-around game and to personally lift the Hotshots to within two games of the coveted crown.

 The peppery sophomore guard from Cagayan de Oro scored five of his seven points in the last three minutes and also came through with the same number of rebounds and the same number of assists plus three steals in 30 minutes of action.

“It all started on our defense at the start of the fourth quarter. It’s about mental toughness and the desire to win,” said Jalalon.

The Aces played much, much tougher from their 84-100 loss Wednesday, enjoying the lead for most of the way only to succumb in  a no-quarter-taken, no-quarter-given ending of the match.

They were ahead by one at 71-70 before going scoreless in the last five minutes of the game.

“From our practice (Thursday), we expected a dogfight. We expected a different Alaska team which would play with tremendous energy and effort,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

“First half, we couldn’t keep up with them. We’re always a step late. Talo sa lahat. At halftime, I told the guys kailangan makasabay kami o wala kaming panalo. Credit it to the guys, they responded to the call,” Victolero added.

The Hotshots beat out the Aces in a gung-ho battle in the fourth quarter.

“Turnovers,” rued Alaska coach Alex Compton as to the cause of their Game Two defeat.

“That was the kind of game I expected Game One to be like, and also the series. But we turned the ball over 26 times, and that’s huge,” Compton pointed out.  

At 0-2, Compton, however, said the series is far from over. “We’ll keep working and we’ll keep going. I don’t think it’s over yet,” he said.       

Romeo Travis collected 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists as he also factored a lot in pushing the Aces to a deeper hole.

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 half.

The scores: 

Magnolia 77 – Travis 24, Sangalang 11, Lee 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 4, Brondial 3, Barroca 2, Herndon 0, Pascual 0.

Alaska 71 – Harris 22, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Racal 7, Enciso 6, Casio 5, Teng 4, Exciminiano 4, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Baclao 0, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0. 

Quarterscores: 20-22, 36-41, 61-65, 77-71

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