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Vengeful Magnolia strikes back to stay in top 4 hunt

Magnolia bounced back in a big way on Thursday night, ripping NorthPort, 129-109 , and staying in the hunt for a possible top-four berth in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A few days after seeing their four-game winning streak snapped by Meralco, the Hotshots came out with a vengeance and displayed more fire in their game.

Their onslaught was led by import Antonio Hester, Rome dela Rosa, Calvin Abueva and  Mark Barroca, who all came up with double-digit outputs as the Hotshots tried to put away the Batang Pier early and were never seriously threatened.

It was the fifth win in nine games for the Hotshots, who remained at seventh spot of the standings.

Things could change for the Hotshots’ top four aspirations should they win their remaining two games — against Terrafirma on Saturday and Blackwater on Wednesday.

But if there’s any consolation in Magnolia’s latest win, it’s a guaranteed spot in the quarterfinal round.

Hester finished with a double-double performance of 28 points and 14 boards.

Abueva also came away with his own double-double production of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Mark Barroca had 21 markers on top of eight assists while Dela Rosa, on the other hand, wound up with his most productive offensive night in the tournament, hitting 7-of-10 shots on his way to finishing 19 markers.

Paul Lee tallied 16 points and Aris Dionisio contributed 15 in a display of balanced firepower by  Magnolia, which shot a high 56% from the field (51-of-91), while also dominating NorthPort in the battle of the boards, 54-26.

“I told my players to control what we can control,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. “The important thing is for us to take care of the last two games and see if there’s a chance for us to secure a top-four berth, if not, then that’s alright. At least we tried.”

The Scores:

MAGNOLIA 129 – Hester 28, Barroca 21, Dela Rosa 19, Abueva 18, Lee 16, Dionisio 15, Escoto 7, Jalalon 3, Mendoza 2, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Wong 0, Zaldivar 0, Corpuz 0

NORTHPORT 109 – Murphy 31, Bolick 30, Munzon 11, Calma 9, Chan 8, Taha 6, Tolentino 4, Salado 4, Zamar 3, Sumang 2, Santos 0, Caperal 0, Balagasay 0

QUARTERS: 31-31, 73-47, 98-84, 129-109

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