PBA: Magnolia tops Ginebra, as league plays on amid reported COVID-19 case

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2020 09:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 25 2020 09:47 PM

Magnolia's Mark Barroca stretches for a shot against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA (UPDATE) - Paul Lee hit the dagger with under a minute to go, and the Magnolia Hotshots ended a Clasico losing streak to Barangay Ginebra, 102-92, on Sunday night at the AUF Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The "Bubble Clasico" was played under unusual circumstances, as the first game of the double-header -- a showdown between Rain or Shine and Blackwater -- was postponed when an Elite returned a positive COVID-19 test.

It was Magnolia that emerged triumphant, snapping a three-game skid in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup. They also ended a four-game losing streak to the Gin Kings. 

"I challenged them, that this is the real bounce back game na pwede namin gawin para makabalik kami kung saan kami pwede pumunta," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "The veterans stepped up." 

"It's a breakout game for us, and hopefully, mandala namin ang momentum." 

Jackson Corpuz scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, keeping the Hotshots in the game amid Ginebra's hot shooting from beyond the arc. Lee finished with 15 points after shooting just four-of-12 from the field. Barroca also had 15 points, and Ian Sangalang shrugged off injury to score 14 markers and grab eight rebounds.

The Gin Kings appeared to have taken control of the game after seizing a 10-point lead, 75-65, off a Jeff Chan three-pointer with three minutes left in the third quarter. But Magnolia unleashed a 13-0 run, capped by a Lee three-point play, to put the Hotshots in control, 78-75.

A pair of charities by Stanley Pringle trimmed the deficit to one point, but the Hotshots would not relinquish the lead.

A timely three-pointer by Mark Barroca gave Magnolia some breathing room, 89-85, with under five minutes to go after the Gin Kings came within one. After Pringle put Ginebra within three points, 92-89, Lee and Rafi Reavis calmly sank their free throws, while the Magnolia defense forced the Gin Kings into rushed jumpers.

Lee would then hit the dagger triple with 58 seconds to go to make it 99-89 in favor of the Hotshots, and the Gin Kings faded away from there.

Magnolia improved to 2-4 in the bubble, while Ginebra lost for the first time after winning their first four assignments. The result left TNT Tropang Giga as the lone unbeaten team in the All-Filipino Cup.

Pringle finished with 24 points and six rebounds, while Japeth Aguilar had 13 points and eight boards.

But the Gin Kings cooled off after shooting 50% in the first half, which saw them make 10 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc. They made just three of 14 three-pointers the rest of the way, and committed 17 turnovers that the Hotshots converted to 17 points.