MAGNOLIA tied its PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series against Magnolia at 2-2 following a 94-91 win in Game Four on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots started out strong with an 8-0 run and led by as many as 21 points, but still had to endure several anxious moments as the Elasto Painters came battling back.
Rain or Shine got as close as one point, 92-91, and the Hotshots didn't breathe easy until former star James Yap missed on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, however, doesn’t want to make a big deal out of the win with the best-of-seven semifinal series down to a three-game affair.
“We only tied the series. It boils down to a best-of-three. We knew na we need to come up hard and prepare hard. My players, they used their experience, energy, and aggressiveness to win this game,” said Victolero.
Ian Sangalang led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Paul Lee added 15 points for the Hotshots, who had Game Four in control after grabbing a 54-33 lead.
Yap scored 24 points and led the Hotshots' late comeback. His three-pointer cut Magnolia’s lead to 92-89 with 1:01 left.
Maverick Ahanmisi scored on a lay-up with four seconds left, 91-92, but Jio Jalalon gave Magnolia some breathing space after converting two free throws with 3.1 seconds left.
“We know that Rain or Shine will come back. ‘Yun ang hinihintay namin. The thing is we held on to the lead. Mahirap kalaban ang Rain or Shine. A win is a win. Maybe it’s 20 points, 10 points, three points, one point, I’ll take it,” said Victolero.
Game Five is slated on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Magnolia 94 – Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Simon 0, Herndon 0.
Rain or Shine 91 – Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Borboran 9, Nambatac 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarters: 28-20; 56-37; 80-64; 94-91.