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    PBA yearender: Magnolia's strong elims finish still leads to early bubble exit

    Dec 28, 2020

    A WIN streak during the eliminations at times leads to a deep run for a PBA title. But this was unlike any other conference. And even with Magnolia’s relatively remarkable performance inside the bubble, their efforts to return to the finals came up short.

    Here’s a review of 2020 for the Hotshots.

    PJ Simon retires

    The 40-year-old Simon formally announced his retirement last September shortly after he was not included in the bubble roster of the Hotshots. The decision ends the 16-year PBA career of Simon, who transformed from being an unsigned fifth-round pick in 2001 to one of the top stars in the history of the Purefoods franchise. The Hotshots plan to retire his jersey number 8 next year.


    Longest winning streak in bubble


    After a slow start in the bubble, Magnolia racked up six consecutive victories on its way to another quarterfinal appearance in the 2020 Philippine Cup. The winning streak began with a 102-92 win over Barangay Ginebra last October 25 in the ‘Bubble Clasico’ with new player Jackson Corpuz leading the way with 20 points. The Hotshots then went on a tear, going unbeaten for the rest of the elimination round games in November to finish with a 7-4 win-loss record.

    Mighty comeback

    One of the most memorable games in the PBA bubble came last October 14 when Magnolia overcame a 22-point deficit to beat NLEX, 103-100. Paul Lee led the attack for the Hotshots with 18 points including a dagger four-point play over Anthony Semerad, completing the comeback from a 70-48 deficit.


    Bench mob

    With the absence of fans in the bubble, Magnolia’s second stringers led by Alvin Abundo devised an idea by cheering on their teammates by doing a wave following every made free throw. The ploy incidentally began against Barangay Ginebra and his teammates and even coaches joined in on the fun when the wins kept coming.


    Win streak ends with bubble exit

    Despite their excellent performance in the bubble, Magnolia suffered an unceremonious exit when it fell to Phoenix Super LPG in the quarterfinals. Even with a 7-4 win-loss record, Magnolia was slotted at the No. 7 spot due to an inferior quotient with five teams toting similar marks. The breaks didn’t go Magnolia’s way with Matthew Wright drilling a running three-pointer with the shotclock winding down to essay an 89-88 win. With the loss, the Hotshots missed out on the finals after finishing second to San Miguel in two previous Philippine Cups.

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