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Magnolia strikes back

Photo courtesy of PBA

Magnolia’s defensive juggernaut flickered back to life as it booked an 88-80 win over San Miguel Beer in Game 3 of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Calvin Abueva was a picture of concentration as he was focused on manning the defensive end and help the Hotshots cut the series deficit to 2-1 entering the crucial Game 4 on Friday.

Unlike the past two games, Magnolia’s defense moved like clockwork as it managed to limit the Beermen gunners and snap their 11-game winning streak.

That extraordinary effort on defense, coupled by Abueva’s more composed performance and timely contributions from the bench, enabled Magnolia to finally carved out a win.

Abueva was able to contribute six points and seven rebounds but providing a ton of energy to the Hotshots despite nearly getting suspended following an altercation with Beermen coach Jorge Gallent during the game and Mo Tautuaa and his wife, Aida, in the aftermath of Game 2 last Sunday.

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said they didn’t talk about the issue surrounding Abueva as they have a bigger task at hand, which is to salvage a win that will put them back in contention.

“We tried to eliminate all the distractions and focused on our preparations against San Miguel in Game 3,” Victolero, whose wards were able to hold the Beermen below their usual offensive production, said.

“The key factor was the two-day rest and we were able to recharge. I don’t want to make excuses, but we’re only human. Fatigue was one of the reasons why we lost in the first two games,”

“But we were able to recover because of that two-day rest and that allowed us to become more aggressive, especially on defense.”

With Magnolia rediscovering that renewed energy, the Hotshots were able to complement that defensive effort with more fluidity on offense as six players were able to finish in double figures.

Mark Barroca presided over the Hotshots’ offense as he pumped in 20 points while dishing out six assists and pulling down four boards.

Struggling big time in the first two games, Paul Lee began to hit his stride and tallied 12 markers while three players added 11 points, including Tyler Bey, who sacrificed his offensive game and concentrated more on limiting the production of San Miguel counterpart Bennie Boatwright.

Ian Sangalang also had 11 markers, the same output produced by Aris Dionisio, who also hit three straight triples in the fourth period that allowed the Hotshots to pull away.

Jio Jalalon, nursing an ankle sprain, saw action and played in pain but chipped in 10 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.


MAGNOLIA 88 –Barroca 20, Lee 12, Bey 11, Sangalang 11, Dionisio 11, Jalalon 10, Dela Rosa 7, Abueva 6, Escoto 0, Laput 0, Reavis 0

SAN MIGUEL 80 – Boatwright 27, Perez 16, Fajardo 11, Teng 10, Trollano 7, Lassiter 4, Brondial 3, Ross 2, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0

QUARTERS: 24-15, 42-39, 63-58, 88-80

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