MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia arranged a finals rematch in the PBA Philippine Cup with a 63-60 overtime escape over Rain or Shine in a do-or-die Game 7 semifinals match at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, April 28.
The Hotshots stormed back from 17 points and forced an extra period before displaying their championship experience and denying the Elasto Painters their first trip to the finals since 2016.
Magnolia will face reigning four-time All-Filipino champion San Miguel, the team that beat it in 5 games for the title last season.
"I loved the grit, I loved the resilience, the effort, the energy. They just don't give up," said Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero.
Rafi Reavis showed age is just a number at 41 years old as he put up 8 points, 20 rebounds, and 3 blocks all the while making key plays late in regulation and overtime.
He denied James Yap and the Elasto Painters of a potential game-winning triple in regulation before scoring 3 points and hauling down 3 rebounds in the final 1:20 minutes.
Ian Sangalang had 11 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Paul Lee added 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the win.
Trailing 60-62, Rain or Shine had a chance to level the score only to witness Yap miss his layup as Sangalang split his free throws with 1.3 ticks left to give his side a three-point lead.
With no timeouts left, Beau Belga flung a full-court heave in an attempt to force a second overtime for the Elasto Painters but his shot fell way short.
Yap delivered 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists against his former team Hotshots but was held scoreless in the final period.
Gabe Norwood had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Jewel Ponferada chipped in 9 points in the loss.
Both teams had trouble finding the bottom of the net early with first half ending 27-21 in favor of Rain or Shine until it scored 4 straight three-pointers – two coming from Belga – to build a 39-22 lead.
But Magnolia fought back and eventually knotted the score at 46-all off a Sangalang bucket before forging overtime.
The Hotshots tangle with the Beermen in a best-of-seven title clash starting on Wednesday, May 1, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia 63 - Sangalang 11, Lee 11, Ramos 9, Reavis 8, Barroca 7, Dela Rosa 6, Brondial 5, Jalalon 3, Melton 3, Herndon 0.
Rain or Shine 60 - Yap 14, Norwood 11, Ponferada 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Nambatac 5, Mocon 3, Borboran 2, Rosales 2, Torres 0, Daquioag 0.
Quarters: 14-7, 21-27, 37-44, 55-55, 63-60.
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.