Magnolia Pambansang Manok overcame TNT’s comeback in the second half to preserve a 96-93 victory Friday, Feb. 11 and move to a perfect 4-0 record in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Mike Harris bucked a 47-day delay the league endured due to last month’s COVID-19 surge by posting 41 points and 18 rebounds as the Hotshots maintained their hold on top spot in the team standings.
The Hotshots prevailed, but not before seeing the Tropang Giga recover from a 19-point deficit to even take the lead in the fourth.
Harris and company then weather off a last-ditch attempt by TNT to steal the game and win their first meeting since the Philippine Cup Finals last October in Bacolor, Pampanga which ended with Magnolia settling for a bridesmaid finish.
“He led us in the fourth quarter, stabilized the team especially when TNT made some runs in the fourth quarter,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero of Harris. “We had a pretty good defense in the last five minute of the fourth quarter, and I think that was one key factor kung bakit namin nakuha yung panalo.”
Paul Lee had 15 points, five rebounds and two steals and Mark Barroca added 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and two steals for Magnolia.
TNT fell to 2-3 in the first of a busy four-game schedule in the next seven days with some of its players expected to see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
The Tropang Giga were already shorthanded with RR Pogoy out due to a strained calf while Poy Erram had to leave the game in the first half after hurting his back.
Magnolia raced to a 25-6 start before the first quarter ended with a 31-14 as Harris made all six shots.
TNT trailed double digits for most of the second and third until two Gab Banal triples reduced Magnolia’s gap to 71-66 going into the final period.
The turnaround was completed with over eight minutes left in the fourth when Castro knocked down a triple and later made a free throw following Victolero’s technical foul for a 78-77 lead, 8:38 to go.
But Harris scored six in a 12-2 response that put Magnolia in front 89-80, five minutes left. TNT threatened again as Kib Montalbo made two threes, the last putting his team behind 91-90 with under a minute left.
A free throw contest ensued as Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang hit two attempts and TNT’s Mikey Williams splitting a pair before Lee knocked down after Montalbo’s foul for 95-91, 24 ticks to go.
MAGNOLIA 96 — Harris 41, Lee 15, Barroca 14, Sangalang 7, Abueva 6, Jalalon 6, Reavis 4, Ahanmisi 3, Corpuz 0, Wong 0, Dionisio 0.
TNT 93 — Fuller 21, M. Williams 17, Banal 16, Castro 15, Montalbo 8, K. Williams 7, Erram 5, Reyes 3, Rosario 1, Khobuntin 0, Heruela 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarters: 31-14, 52-39, 71-66, 96-93.