MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia built a lead large enough to fend off a late Rain or Shine comeback en route to a 94-91 win in Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Monday, April 22.
The Hotshots nearly squandered a cushion as large as 21 points and almost fell victim to former player James Yap but fortunately managed to escape with the victory and knot the best-of-seven duel at 2-all.
Down by 3 with 3.1 seconds left, the Elasto Painters had enough time to forge overtime only to witness Yap miss the potential game-tying three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Rome dela Rosa.
Magnolia has now won back-to-back games thanks to 7 players breaching double figures.
Ian Sangalang put up 19 points and 10 rebounds, Paul Lee chipped in 15 points and 5 rebounds, while Jio Jalalon contributed 12 points, with none bigger than the free throws that gave the Hotshots a three-point lead late.
Rafi Reavis had 10 points and 11 rebounds, Justin Melton and Mark Barroca each added 11 points, and dela Rosa chimed in 10 points and 7 rebounds in the win.
"This is a very crucial game for us. My players used their experiences, energy, and aggressiveness to win this game," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said.
Off to a fiery 8-0 start, the Hotshots led throughout and enjoyed a 54-33 advantage – their biggest of the game – before halftime.
It was only until midway through the payoff period when Rain or Shine made a fight out of the game as it cut a 91-77 lead to a single point off a 14-1 run with 4 seconds left in the clock, 91-92.
However, Jalalon showed immense composure down the stretch by knocking down the pair of free throws that eventually preserved the win for Magnolia.
Yap had his best game of the series with 24 points and 6 rebounds, but his efforts were not enough for the Elasto Painters to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
Javee Mocon had 14 points, while Gabe Norwood delivered 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals in the loss.
The crucial Game 5 is on Wednesday, April 24, at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Magnolia 94 - Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Herndon 0, Simon 0.
Rain or Shine 91 - Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Nambatav 9, Borboran 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20, 56-37, 80-64, 94-91.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.