MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Magnolia Hotshots erased a 20-point deficit to subdue the San Miguel Beermen, 105-103, and drew first blood in their best-of-7 finals series for the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum Friday, March 23.
San Miguel led 100-97 with 2:30 minutes left in the payoff period before the Hotshots scored 6 straight points, capped by an Ian Sangalang bank shot, for a 103-100 advantage with 43.2 seconds remaining.
Marcio Lassiter knotted the score with a triple with 33.9 seconds left, 103-all. However, Sangalang fished a foul from June Mar Fajardo and sank his freebies to give the Hotshots a 105-103 lead.
Jio Jalalon's two missed freebies with 3 ticks remaining kept the comeback door ajar for the Beermen but Magnolia's Rafi Reavis blocked Arwind Santos' last gasp 3-point attempt.
Sangalang finished with 29 points, 14 coming in the 4th quarter, to go with 9 rebounds and two steals to lead the Hotshots while Aldrech Ramos added 15 markers.
Mark Barroca had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and two steals and Rome dela Rosa chipped in 11 points in the win.
"I think it’s all credit to the players kasi down 20, 'di sila nag give up eh. That’s the character na nabuo ko sa insistence sa past experiences namin," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
(I think it's all credit to the players because they were down 20 points and they did not give up. That's the character the team has formed with the our past experiences.)
It was a nip-and-tuck battle midway through the second quarter with Magnolia trailing by a whisker, 34-35, until the Beermen ended the first half with a 28-13 salvo for a 63-47 cushion.
San Miguel's cushion ballooned to as much as 20 points, 72-52, in the 3rd quarter but the Hotshots turned the tides, scoring 13 straight points in opening the payoff period to make it a one-point game, 88-89.
June Mar Fajardo poured in game-highs of 31 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks against 11 turnovers. However, those monstrous numbers were not enough for San Miguel, which only had one bench point, to take home the victory.
Alex Cabagnot had a near-triple-double of 27 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists while Lassiter chalked up 21 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss.
Game 2 is on Sunday, March 25, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
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.