Jio Jalalon and Mark Barocca anchored a huge third quarter storm for Magnolia to turn back NLEX, 87-73, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, July 2.
The Hotshots put up a defensive masterclass in the third frame anchored on their pesky backcourt duo who took turns in leading the charge for Magnolia to erase a 14-point deficit and pull away for good for its third straight win.
Magnolia forced NLEX to consecutive turnovers at the start of the third frame with Jalalon providing the energy, scoring 10 of his 16 points total during the 19-2 run that turned a 46-32 halftime deficit into a 51-48 advantage.
Barocca, who was forced to sit down early in that same frame due to his four fouls, came back and took the torch from Jalalon unleashing a personal 10-0 blast that broke the 53-all deadlock and took 63-53 lead for the Hotshots late in the third.
Jalalon also finished with nine assists, six rebounds and three steals while Barocca wound up with 18 markers, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for Magnolia which looked a bit rusty from its eight-day rest prior to this game.
“May factor yun (long break), kasi kung mapapansin mo ‘yung timing namin yung rhythm namin in the first half talagang wala eh. Ang hirap namin kumuha ng rhythm e. Pinag usapan lang namin nung third, kailangan lang namin yung attack mode nanduon magsimula kami sa depensa,” said head coach Chito Victolero whose ploy to play a small ball line up in the third frame worked wonders as it pressured the Road Warriors ball handlers and forced them to turnover
“We play small in the third quarter para makakuha kami ng momentum, good thing, medyo maganda yung adjustment, nagsimula kami sa depensa para makuha yung pace ng game namin,” he added.
With the win, the Hotshots improved to a 4-3 record, tied with the Road Warriors with an identical record at the 5th-6th place in the standings.
JR Quinahan led the way for NLEX with 17 points while Calvin Oftana and Don Trollano added 14 markers each which all went down the drain after they started out flat in the third frame, eventually squandering the 14-point advantage it built during a stellar second frame where they limited the Hotshots to just 12 quarter points.
NLEX tried to regain foothold in the final frame behind the efforts of Alas, Oftana and Quinahan but timely hits from Ian Sangalang and Rome Dela Rosa shut the door on their comeback hopes.