In-form Magnolia extends win streak to four with romp of ROS

Magnolia leaned on its deadly backcourt trio of Mark Barroca, Paul Lee and Jio Jalalon, romping Rain or Shine, 112-97, to sustain its rise in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 22

Jio Jalalon spearheads the three-headed backcourt combination of Magnolia and finished with 19 points. (PBA Images)

The Hotshots' three-headed guard combo stood at the forefront of their assault on both ends of the court, catching the Elasto Painters flat-footed all throughout the contest to extend their winning run to four and improve to a 4-3 record in standings. 

Jalalon finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Barroca also added 19 markers – including 11 straight bridging the last two minutes of the third frame and the first few minutes of the fourth quarter when Magnolia further padded the lead to its largest at 23 points.

Lee also unleashed 19 – 10 of which came in the third frame, allowing the Hotshots to keep a comfortable distance against the hard-fighting Elasto Painters.

Antonio Hester provided a solid wall for Magnolia inside the paint with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Completely turning things around now after the horror 0-3 start, Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said the team is holding on to the valuable lessons they got during that stretch to keep the win streak going and not play complacent even with the big lead.

“It’s a big help also (early losses). We just want to stay positive sa mga nangyari sa amin in the start and it’s a lesson na we need to handle it positively and yung mga mistake namin duon matuto kami,” said Victolero.

“‘Yun yung mga reminders ng mga coaches sa mga time na nagrerelax kami and ‘yung pag complacency dumadating. We want to work hard and stay humble in the court. As long as we are staying humble sa court I think we have a good chance,” he added.

The Hotshots went off to a hot start, showing their defensive teeth and the torrid shooting in the opening frame to take a 33-19 advantage. Rain or Shine showed some semblance of fight but the backcourt trio of Lee, Barroca and Jalalon continued to find answers to every Elasto Painters run. 

Rain or Shine, despite the combined efforts of Santi Santillan and Beau Belga, just couldn’t break into the 10-point barrier Magnolia put up as time and again the Hotshots managed to stretch the lead back to safe distance in the second half.

Greg Smith had a lackluster return to Rain or Shine lineup, only finishing with 15 points and four rebounds while Santillan added 14 points as the Elasto Painters saw their two-game win streak gets snapped for a 2-5 slate.