ANTIPOLO CITY - Magnolia Pambansang Manok survived a gritty Barangay Ginebra fight back to take Game 1 of the PBA Governors Cup semifinals, 106-98, Saturday night at the Ynares Center.
Import Romeo Travis and Paul Lee conspired in a 10-2 run in the homestretch to snap the life out of the defending champions, who rallied back from as much as a 14-point third quarter deficit.
Until the Hotshots put together that telling run, the Kings were just within 93-91.
"We need to believe. We need to believe that we can play," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Game Two of the best-of-five series is set on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Travis led the Hotshots with a league career-best 37 points, eclipsing his previous high of 34 which he scored while still with Alaska in 2015 during the Governors Cup. He shot 15-of-25 from the floor, and added 16 rebounds and five assists.
Lee meanwhile had 27 points as he and Travis each scored nine points in the final quarter.
Victolero said the Hotshots need not be complacent though, following the Game 1 win.
"Knowing coach Tim (Cone), he's a champion coach, he knows kung anong adjustment ang gagawin," he said. "We just need to be ready with his adjustment."
The former Best Import also added 16 rebounds and had nine points in the fourth quarter, which also saw Lee contributing the same output on the way to finishing with 27 points.
Import Justine Brownlee also finished with 37 for the Kings, scoring 20 in the first quarter. He had a near triple-double with 14 rebounds and eight assists, but shot 12-of-28 from the field.
Japeth Aguilar fired 18 points and LA Tenorio 13 for the reigning two-time champions.
Magnolia (106) - Travis 37, Lee 27, Melton 11, Sangalang 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 5, Pascual 4, Herndon 3, Brondial 0, Reavis 0.
Barangay Ginebra (98) - Brownlee 37, Aguilar 18, Tenorio 13, Slaughter 8, Thompson 7, Chan 5, Mariano 4, Ferrer 4, Mercado 2.
Quarterscores: 31-39; 63-55; 86-76; 106-98.