MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia displayed immense composure against Rain or Shine to avoid teetering on the brink of elimination in their 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday, April 16.
Ian Sangalang had 16 points and 11 rebounds and hit timely buckets down the stretch as the Hotshots hacked out an 85-74 win to trim the Elasto Painters' lead in the best-of-seven affair to 1-2.
Rain or Shine led by 6 points entering the final frame and was primed to take a commanding 3-0 series lead but was kept scoreless in the final 4 minutes no thanks to Magnolia's formidable defense.
Limited to just 4 points through the first 3 quarters, Sangalang erupted for 12 points in the final frame – highlighted by 6 straight points that turned a slim 76-74 Hotshots lead to an 82-74 advantage with less than a minute left.
Sangalang outscored the entire Elasto Painters in the 4th quarter as they put up only 11, with their final points coming off a Javee Mocon and-one play with 4:03 minutes left.
Magnolia's guards were all over the floor as Paul Lee delivered 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, Mark Barroca chipped in 6 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and Jio Jalalon put up 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Justin Melton also made his presence felt in the win with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals while Rafi Reavis had 7 points, 11 rebounds and 2 steals.
"We just tried to bring back Magnolia Hotshots basketball which is [a] more defensive-minded team," said head coach Chito Victolero.
"I told them na kailangan naming ibalik 'yun – our aggressiveness [and] energy – even though we're tired and we're [playing] 7 games in 14 nights. Wala kaming magagawa, that's our identity eh."
(I told them that we need to bring back our aggressiveness and energy even though we're tired and we've played 7 games in 14 nights. We can't do anything about it, that's our identity.)
Mocon finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds to pace Rain or Shine while Beau Belga and Norbert Torres added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The two teams meet again in the crucial Game 4 on Monday, April 22, at the same venue.
Magnolia 85 - Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Melton 9, Jalalon 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 7, Barroca 6, Reavis 6, Brondial 5, Simon 3, Ramos 2.
Rain or Shine 74 - Mocon 18, Belga 12, Torres 10, Daquioag 7, Yap 6, Nambatac 6, Norwood 6, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Ponferada 2.
Quarterscores: 15-17, 35-42, 57-63, 85-74.
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.