ANTIPOLO – Rome Dela Rosa showed another facet of his game on Friday night, setting a new conference high in scoring against Blackwater.
Known more as Magnolia's defensive lynchpin, Dela Rosa scored a team-high 17 points to help the Hotshots put away a 97-87 win over the Elite at the Ynares Center and give its playoff bid in the PBA Philippine Cup a major boost.
The son of former PBA player Romy had nine points in the second quarter alone, helping Magnolia take a 49-41 halftime lead that the Hotshots never relinquished.
Dela Rosa said he took it upon himself to be more aggressive with the Hotshots fighting for their lives.
“It was a must-win,” said Dela Rosa. “I have to be aggressive. I’m in there for defense but offensively, I have to be aggressive against those guys and make whoever is defending me work. It was a must-win for us with the positioning in the playoffs.”
Friday’s game was the third in as many playdates for the Hotshots, but no one showed signs of fatigue.
Ian Sangalang (16 points, 10 rebounds), and Mark Barroca (11 points, five assists, two steals) got their usual numbers while role players Raffy Reavis (11 points, nine rebounds) and Rodney Brondial (10 points, 10 rebounds) also contributed to Magnolia’s cause.
“I’m happy everyone is contributing and I know everyone is capable as long as they are given the time. Whether it is on offense or defense, they are able to contribute. I’m happy for everyone,” said Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa said he is looking forward to much-needed rest before the Hotshots face NLEX after the All-Star break.
“That was tough. We are just fighting it off. No excuses. That was the schedule given to us. We just have to work and give it a maximum effort,” said Dela Rosa.
“It’s a well-needed rest after this month so right now, take the rest. Mentally, we have to prepare for NLEX. We have to be on our minds and come out and win the game.”