Magnolia’s Mark Barroca keeps some distance against Rain or Shine defender Ed Daquioag in an opening-quarter action in their game last night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Jun Mendoza
Amazing Hotshots race ahead
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Magnolia moved on the verge of another gutsy comeback in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs, wresting a 3-2 lead against semifinal rival Rain or Shine with a pivotal 82-74 victory last night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Playing with what coach Chito Victolero dubbed as “Magnolia Hotshots basketball,” the Hotshots put the Elasto Painters on the backfoot for most of Game Four and turned to Jio Jalalon and Rafi Reavis for the coup de grace in the stretch to rack up their third consecutive win and the upper hand in the race-to-four series.

“I’m so proud and happy with our defense, we’re able to limit ROS to score under 90. We executed our game plan, we were aggressive, displayed energy and the desire to win – everything we needed to win this game was there,” said Victolero, whose charges are looking to duplicate their fightback in the preceding best-of-three quarterfinals, where they climbed out of a 0-1 deficit to steal it from Barangay Ginebra.

From 0-2 versus hot-starting ROS, the Hotshots now have a crack at a finals berth in Friday’s Game Six in Antipolo.

Magnolia gained from the heroic outings of Jalalon and Mark Barroca, who had 14 markers apiece, Reavis, who had nine plus 12 rebounds, and Rodney Brondial and Rob Herndon who tallied eight each as they offset the scoreless stint of Paul Lee.

“He knows it’s not just the points we need from him but his presence and more importanly his leadership,” said Victolero of Lee, who contributed four boards and one assist. “He can score anytime but he also wants his teammates to get their confidence.”

The Hotshots seized a 13-point lead in the third, squandered it but made big plays down the stretch to ice it, with Reavis giving them an 80-74 cushion with an unmolested undergoal stab off a feed from Jalalon.

And Jalalon later drained two insurance charities after successive missed treys by ROS.

Meanwhile, San Miguel guns for the jugular tonight against tough Phoenix Pulse in their highly charged series, with the Beermen aiming to take the next step towards its bid for a fifth straight diadem in the league’s most prestigious conference.

Bouncing back strong from their setback in Game Three, the Beermen leaned on Terrence Romeo’s second-half explosion to hammer out a masterful 114-91 rout in the rugged match, giving themselves the opportunity to wrap up a return trip to the finals.

Notes: San Miguel’s Alex Cabagnot drew a fine of P20, 000 for hitting Phoenix’s RJ Jazul in the groin area during a heated sequence in Game Four. Cabagnot wasn’t whistled for a major infraction game time but was sanctioned upon video review of the incident, which triggered an altercation by players from both sides. Also fined were Jaypee Mendoza (?6,600), Ron Dennison (?5,000), Alex Mallari (?2,600), Jason Perkins (?1,500), Kelly Nabong (? 3,400), Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Arwind Santos (?1,600)....San Miguel has gotten the ball rolling for its quest to regain the Commissioner’s Cup by tapping old champion import Charles Rhodes.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 82 – Barroca 14, Jalalon 14, Reavis 9, Brondial 9, Sangalang 8, Herndon 8, Dela Rosa 7, Ramos 7, Melton 6, Lee 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 74 – Norwood 15, Yap 12, Borboran 11, Daquioag 9, Torres 8, Nambatac 6, Belga 5, Rosales 3, Mocon 3, Ahanmisi 2, Ponferada 0.

Quarterscores: 16-10, 40-34, 58-57, 82-74.

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