MANILA, Philippines – Mark Barroca was the hero for Magnolia in Game 5 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup finals, as he nailed the baseline jumper at the buzzer that lifted the Hotshots to an 88-86 triumph over the San Miguel Beermen.
It was the highlight of what had been a banner finals series for the veteran guard. Barroca finished with 22 points in Game 5, and had been averaging 19 points per game in the series. Thanks in part to his impressive play, the Hotshots went up 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, and had a chance to close out San Miguel on Sunday.
However, Barroca and the Hotshots failed to get it done in Game 6. In their first shot at ending San Miguel's All-Filipino dynasty, the Hotshots instead faltered, bowing to the Beermen 98-86 in front of a big crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
Barroca, after torching SMB in the first five games, was limited to just six points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field. He was a team-worst minus-22 in the game as well.
Jio Jalalon (17 points, 8 assists) tried to pick up the slack, but with Paul Lee (10 points) also limited, the Hotshots simply could not match the Beermen who went up by 21 points in the first half and nursed that lead in the second half despite Magnolia's repeated rallies.
Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero was unconcerned about the struggles of his floor general, however.
"Okay naman ang laro ni Mark. Siguro ano lang, medyo kulang lang ng kaunti," he said.
With the result, the finals series is now heading to a do-or-die Game 7 on Wednesday at the Big Dome.
There, Victolero is fully expecting Barroca to return to form.
"Mark Barroca is Mark Barroca, he will come back strong on Wednesday," he predicted.
Victolero is also looking to make some adjustments after his big men once again struggled with foul trouble in Game 6. Rafi Reavis and Ian Sangalang were both saddled with 3 fouls in the first half, limiting their impact.
"Yes, for the last two games, 'yun ang problema namin," said the coach.
"I don't know kung ano ang mali at tama na ginagawa ng players ko. But of course, kung mapapansin niyo the second-chance points, the offensive rebounds, sobrang tambak kami," he added. "We'll have a hard time to win kung laging ganoon."
"Because wala naman kaming binabago eh. Wala naman kaming binabago sa ginagawa namin. I don't know kung anong foul or anong kailangan namin gawin."
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