MAGNOLIA outworked and outhustled Alaska in a grind-out, highly defensive battle, 77-71, on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the 2018 PBA Governors Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo Travis once again took over with 24 points and nine rebounds while Jio Jalalon stood tall in the endgame, hitting the lean-in jumper that broke the game's final deadlock at 71-all.
The Hotshots now go to Game Three on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City with a chance to leave the Aces in a 3-0 hole - a deficit only one team has overcome in the league's 43 years.
Ironically, San Miguel achieved that feat back in the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals against Alaska.
Jalalon finished with seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in Game One but was just 1-of-8 from the field before hitting the lean-in jumper that broke the 71-71 tie.
The former Arellano star guard also grabbed the rebound off Simon Enciso’s miss and scored on two free throws for a 75-71 lead with 15.9 seconds to play.
“Since yesterday, I talked to my players. We expected a dogfight today. We expected a different Alaska team with more effort, more aggressiveness, and more energy and that’s what happened,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Ian Sangalang had 11 points and five rebounds in a game that will not remembered for its scoring but for the defense by both sides and hustle plays.
Mike Harris had 22 points and 13 rebounds while Vic Manuel had 10 points and five rebounds for the Aces, who went up, 55-46, in the third period and still led by four points entering the final quarter.
Magnolia 77 – Travis 24, Sangalang 11, Lee 8, Jalalon 7, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 4, Brondial 3, Barroca 2, Herndon 0, Pascual 0.
Alaska 71 – Harris 22, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Racal 7, Enciso 6, Casio 5, Teng 4, Exciminiano 2, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Baclao 0, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 20-22; 36-41; 61-65; 77-71.