Mark Barroca defies the stiff defense of Magnolia Hotshot Solomon Mercado of Barangay Ginebra as he drives to the bas- ket in their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinallastnightattheSmart Araneta Coliseum.
Joey Mendoza
TNT KaTropa, Magnolia Hotshots forge twin KOs
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Fancied San Miguel, Ginebra lack luster in Game 2

MANILA, Philippines — The last half of the PBA Philippine Cup Final Eight is boiling down to double knockout matches.

With their backs against the wall, TNT KaTropa and Magnolia fought with tremendous resolve, fashioning out contrasting victories over San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra, respectively, to set a pair of deciding matches in their best-of-three quarterfinal playoffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

The KaTropa grinded out a 93-88 win over the Beermen in a highly physical match while the Hotshots pulled off an emphatic 106-77 victory over the Gin Kings as both series went back to scratch.

The four teams figure in a twin KO duels tomorrow also at the Big Dome to determine which of them join Phoenix Pulse and Rain or Shine in the Final Four.

“We just tied the series, and there’s nothing to celebrate yet. Our goal was to stay in the series, and we did. Hopefully, yung pinakita namin na energy and intensity ngayon ma-match o lagpasan pa namin Wednesday,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.

“We brought back the energy and spirit of a Magnolia game. In Game One, that wasn’t the Magnolia game, and the guys saw that in our video review,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

“We brought back our mindset of going all out in every possession. The chemistry was also a big factor. This was the chance we’re looking for, and we grabbed it,” added Victolero.

Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca, who struggled badly in Game One, best demonstrated Magnolia’s turnaround, with the two pesky guards among six Hotshots piling up double-digit outputs.

Jalalon came through with 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and the same number of steals while Barroca got away with 13 markers, four steals, three boards and two dish-offs in sterling all-around efforts.

“I expected that from them. Yesterday, they told me they would go all out, and they did. They showed their true worth,” said Victolero.

Ian Sangalang collected 21 points, Robert Herndon fired 18, Paul Lee contributed 13 and Rome dela Rosa added 11 as the Hotshots pulled their most lopsided triumph over the Kings, surpassing their 103-76 win back in 2007.

They dealt the Kings tremendous beating with their 44.7-percent shooting complemented by a lockdown defense that shackled Ginebra’s aces.

In fact, only Sol Mercado finished in double figures for the Kings. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio were all held to five points each.

The Hotshots forced the Kings to 20 errors, and enjoyed a 26-12 advantage on points off turnovers.

Jalalon, Sangalang, Barroca, Herndon and Rafi Reavis got Magnolia to a stirring 11-0 start, and the Hotshots refused to look back, leading by as many as 31 before wrapping up the win.

Leading by 13, 51-38, at the half, the Hotshots took the fight out of the Kings as Magnolia stepped up harder in the third, walloping Ginebra, 30-16.

In Game Three, Victolero said the idea is to play with the same effort and desire in their bid to advance in the tourney where they claimed runner-up honors behind San Miguel Beer last year.

“From the start, I like our chances in this series. Hopefully, we can make a good preparation to win the series,” said Victolero.  

The scores:

First Game

Magnolia 106 – Sangalang 21, Herndon 18, Jalalon 17, Barroca 13, Lee 13, Dela Rosa 11, Ramos 6, Abundo 3, Reavis 2, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Melton 0, Pascual 0.

Ginebra 77 – Mercado 13, Thompson 8, Ferrer 8, Dela Cruz 7, Caperal 6, Teodoro 6, Tenorio 5, Aguilar J. 5, Slaughter 5, Chan 4, Devance 4, Mariano 2.

 Quarterscores: 25-18, 51-38, 81-54, 106-77

Second Game

TNT 93 – Pogoy 20, Castro 19, Rosario 15, Trollano 12, Reyes 9, Washington 5, Taha 4, Semerad A. 4, Williams 4, Heruela 1, Carey 0.

San Miguel 88 – Fajardo 26, Standhardinger 18, Cabagnot 16, Romeo 12, Ross 6, Lassiter 5, Santos 5, Tubid 0, Nabong 0, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarterscores: 20-19, 54-43, 73-68, 93-88.

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