MANILA, Philippines -- The Magnolia Hotshots clobbered the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 107-66, to force a do-or-die game in their best-of-3 series in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots were playing with their backs against the wall after absorbing an 86-75 loss against Ginebra in Game 1 last Saturday.
But Magnolia bounced back in impressive fashion, asserting their control right from the opening tip then fending off Ginebra's attempts to recover in the second frame. They blew the game completely open in the third period, to tie the series at one-game apiece.
"Ang maganda lang, 'yung mga players ko, na-challenge sila," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero after the game. "Pinag-usapan namin na our spirit, 'yung aura namin noong Game 1, it's not Magnolia Hotshots basketball."
"Maganda 'yung bounce back namin, and the most important thing here is 'yung mindset namin na we need to go all out on every possession -- offense and defense," he stressed.
Game 3 is on Wednesday, still at the Big Dome. The winner moves on to play No. 2 seed Rain or Shine in the best-of-7 semifinals.
The Hotshots showed their intent right from the start, surging to a 25-18 advantage at the end of the opening frame. The Gin Kings would come to as close as 3 points in the second period, the last at 39-36 off a Japeth Aguilar bucket with under four minutes left in the opening half.
But it was Magnolia that ended the quarter on a strong note, putting together an 12-2 run -- capped by a Jio Jalalon floater with 18 seconds left -- to head into the break with a comfortable 51-38 advantage.
The Hotshots simply poured it on in the third quarter, as they got contributions from virtually every player. The lead ballooned to 30 points, 78-48, with 2:51 left in the frame after a bucket by Rodney Brondial off a dime by Rome dela Rosa.
They went on to lead by as much as 31 points, 87-56, with 8:18 left in the fourth frame after Ian Sangalang's floater.
A balanced effort on offense got it done for the Hotshots as six players scored in double-digits, led by Sangalang with 21 points -- including 10 in the third quarter. Jalalon finished with 17 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals in just 25 minutes, while Paul Lee and Mark Barroca added 13 points each.
Robbie Herndon had 18 points, while dela Rosa contributed 11 markers as Magnolia shot 44.7% from the field, and made all 11 of the free throws they attempted.
Sol Mercado was the lone player in double-digits for Ginebra, with 13 points. Their usual contributors were flat: LA Tenorio made just 2 of 9 field goals for 5 points, and had more turnovers (2) than assists (0). Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar combined for 10 points and 9 rebounds against the Magnolia frontline.
Magnolia 106 - Sangalang 21, Herndon 18, Jalalon 17, Barroca 13, Lee 13, Dela Rosa 11, Ramos 6, Abundo 3, Reavis 2, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Melton 0, Pascual 0.
Ginebra 77 - Mercado 13, Thompson 8, Ferrer 8, Dela Cruz 7, Caperal 6, Teodoro 6, Tenorio 5, Aguilar J. 5, Slaughter 5, Chan 4, Devance 4, Mariano 2.
Quarters: 25-18, 51-38, 81-54, 106-77.
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