Magnolia Pambansang Manok finally got its bearings after two disappointing losses and held off fiery rookie Mikey Williams and TNT with a 106-98 win to climb back in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots’ main weapons finally make their presence felt as they held the lead for most of the contest before cutting short a pair of Tropang Giga runs late in the third and in the final minute of the fourth to bounce back from dropping the first two games of the title series.
Coach Chito Victolero won despite another huge game from Williams, who dropped a conference-high 39 points aided by 10 triples, which not set a rookie record but also a new mark for a finals game.
Paul Lee shook off nagging injuries on his right shoulder and left leg to deliver 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, Ian Sangalang showed little effects of the back spasms that forced him to play limited minutes in Game 1 and registered 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Mark Barroca, playing through a hamstring injury, added 16 points off the bench, including a basket that sealed the deal for Magnolia.
TNT reduced a 18-point gap, 95-77, with less than eight minutes in the fourth down to three, 98-95, on Williams’ final three, 1:11 remaining. But Barroca answered with a right-handed bank shot off big men Dave Marcelo and Poy Erram to put Magnolia in safer territory.
The Tropang Giga still lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, but their concern now is the status of Troy Rosario, who left with 3:02 left in the third quarter after dislocated his right finger.
Rosario fell hard on the floor while attempting for a basket after being fouled by Jackson Corpuz, who hit the TNT player from the back while sprinting back from the other end of the floor.
Corpuz received a Flagrant 1 but was ejected after being slapped with a technical foul earlier in the game.
The lull seemed to have benefited the Tropang Giga, who ended the third down 82-77 after trailing by 13 twice in the quarter. However, they would miss their first six shots in the fourth and the Hotshots scored 13 in a row for that 95-77 lead on Barroca’s layup, exactly 7:49 to go in the contest.
TNT looked like it had given up when coach Chot Reyes inserted reserves Brian Heruela, Dave Marcelo and Glenn Khobuntin alongside Williams and Poy Erram.
And the ploy enabled the Tropang Giga to outscore the Hotshots, 18-3, in a six-minute stretch that ended with Williams’ three before Barroca’s shot killed any hopes of a huge escape act.
MAGNOLIA 106 — Lee 21, Sangalang 20, Barroca 16, Abueva 14, Jalalon 11, Dela Rosa 9, Corpuz 7, Reavis 5, Ahanmisi 3, Melton 0.
TNT 98 — M.Williams 39, Pogoy 14, Erram 10, Castro 9, Heruela 8, Marcelo 7, K.Williams 4, Reyes 3, Rosario 2, Khobuntin 2, Montalbo 0, Exciminiano 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarters: 26-20, 52-46, 82-77, 106-98.