Magnolia off to rousing Govs’ Cup debut, beats Terrafirma in front of returning Araneta crowd

Published December 15, 2021, 5:22 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

Magnolia Pambansang Manok made sure it would come out victorious on the day of happy returns and cruised past Terrafirma, 114-87, Wednesday, Dec. 15 as action in the PBA finally got going at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mike Harris, playing for the first time in three years with a new team, remained a force to be reckoned with while Calvin Abueva’s midcourt heave to end the first half triggered the sound that has not been heard in 21 months: the roar of the crowd.

It was a surreal experience for everyone after the pandemic forced the PBA to play in different venues without the presence of the audience until now.

“Nung first quarter halos lahat excited e,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, who eventually saw his team settle to turn their season-ending Governors’ Cup debut into a rout.

The Hotshots won convincingly in their first game since losing to the TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Cup Finals in late-October and the result is something they would be a positive sign moving forward.

Harris, on the losing end of Magnolia’s triumph in the 2018 Governors’ Cup Finals as Alaska import, put up 30 points and 15 rebounds in the victory.

Abueva, whose long shot to end the first half gave Magnolia a 46-35 halftime lead, had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a performance that came after claiming Best Player of the Conference honors in the Philippine Cup.

Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang added 16 and 10 for the Hotshots.

Import Antonio Hester finished with 21 points and eight rebounds before going down with an injury in the fourth as the Dyip dropped to 1-2.

Juami Tiongson added 20 for Terrafirma while Alex Cabagnot tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in his third game with his new team.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 114 — Harris 30, Abueva 17. Lee 16, Sangalang 10, Dionisio 10, Ahanmisi 8, Jalalon 8, Dela Rosa 6, Brill 4, Barroca 3, Laput 2, De Leon 0.

TERRAFIRMA 87 — Hester 21, Tiongson 20, Cabagnot 16, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Cahilig 6, Pascual 3, Batiller 2, Calvo 2, Camson 2, Ramos 2, Melton 2, Gabayni 1, Celda 0, Adams 0.

Quarters: 18-15, 46-35, 81-64, 114-87.