Magnolia snapped a three-game losing streak by ending sibling rival Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s perfect run with a 102-92 victory in Sunday’s lone game of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Hotshots came back from a 10-point third quarter deficit before frustrating the Kings on the other end with their defense to secure a rare win in the two San Miguel Corporation-owned teams’ private duel known temporarily as the “Bubble Clasico.”
Ginebra suffered its first defeat after starting the season with a 4-0 record while its 11-game winning streak against Magnolia in the eliminations dating back to the 2015-16 season was also snapped.
The marquee game went ahead on the day PBA announced that an unnamed player from Blackwater tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled first game between the Elite and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Coach Chito Victolero praised his players for keeping their focus in check despite the pre-game distractions.
“I texted all my players to stay focused and (PBA commissioner Willie Marcial) assured us that we’re safe here in the bubble. Nag-settle down lang yung minds namin na parang meron kaming business na kailangan tapusin,” said Victolero.
He’s also glad to see Magnolia respond in a big way after dropping three straight assignments against Alaska, Meralco and Phoenix Super LPG.
Last Friday, the Hotshots looked like they were heading for victory after holding an 80-67 lead with over eight minutes to go in the fourth but allowed the Fuel Masters to launch a 22-0 run before losing 91-84.
Jackson Corpuz had 20 points and six rebounds while the Hotshots 15 points each from Mark Barroca and Paul Lee, whose contested three from way out gave them a 99-89 lead with under a minute to go.
Lee was mainly responsible for Magnolia’s comeback from a 75-65 deficit, three minutes left in the third, by scoring seven during a 13-0 run ending with a three-point play that made it 78-75.
Ian Sangalang had 14 points and eight rebounds while Rome dela Rosa and Chris Banchero also hit double figures with 13 and 10 points. Guard Jio Jalalon posted nine points and 10 assists and veteran center Rafi Reavis was also key for Magnolia with six points and seven rebounds.
Stanley Pringle produced a game-high 24 points, six rebounds and three assists for Ginebra in a losing cause. Scottie Thompson, who had 10 points and 14 rebounds, tried to help cut Magnolia’s lead in the fourth but it was not enough.
MAGNOLIA 102 — Corpuz 20, Barroca 15, Lee 15, Sangalang 14, Dela Rosa 13, Banchero 10, Jalalon 9, Reavis 6, Melton 0, Calisaan 0, Dionisio 0, Pascual 0.
GINEBRA 92 — Pringle 24, Aguilar 13, Thompson 10, Chan 9, Dillinger 9, Caperal 8, Tenorio 6, Tolentino 6, Mariano 4, Devance 3.
Quarters: 25-25, 52-54, 78-77, 102-92.