MAGNOLIA went to the one-two punch of Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca to regain momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals with an 86-82 victory over defending champion San Miguel on Sunday night.
Sangalang dominated inside and Barroca waxed hot from the outside as the duo joined hands down the stretch to help the Hotshots clinch the Game 3 win before a big crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Barroca finished with 22 points and Sangalang with 17 and 15 rebounds for Magnolia, which now leads the best-of-seven title series, 2-1.
"We just won two games. This is not yet over. Ang maganda lang lamang kami (sa series), said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, playing down the victory.
Rafi Reavis also joined the fray for Magnolia as the 41-year-old big man contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds, while taking on the tough task of guarding June Mar Fajardo in the low block.
"He's our veteran and he's the best match-up for June Mar and also for Arwind," he said of the lanky Fil-Am. "Always naman yan, if Rafi gives us a good game, and also Rome (dela Rosa) and Justine (Melton), we have a chance."
Santos led San Miguel with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Fajardo also with a double-double of 17 and 14 boards, while Terrence Romeo waxed hot from the outside by converting 3-of-7 from three-point range for 15 points.
But the Beermen again struggled from the field as gleamed on their 32.9 percent shooting.
Still, they had a chance of pulling it off.
The reigning champions rallied back from a 54-42 deficit in the third quarter to close within 68-66 early in the fourth, prompting Victolero to call a timeout.
That was enough for the Hotshots to regain their bearing, and with Sangalang, Barroca, and the foul-troubled Reavis taking charge, they stretched the lead back to 79-70 with 2:45 left in the game.
The Beermen had one more fight left in them and threatened for the last time at 82-79 with 17 seconds left on a three-pointer by Alex Cabagnot off a lucky bounce.
But Barroca four straight free throws by Barroca finally sealed the deal for Magnolia.
Magnolia (86) - Barroca 22, Sangalang 17, Reavis 16, Lee 8, Jalalon 7, Dela Rosa 7, Pascual 6, Ramos 3, Brondial 0, Simon 0, Melton 0.
San Miguel (82) - Santos 19, Fajardo 17, Romeo 15, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 6, Ross 7, Standhardinger 7, Rosser 0, Nabong 0, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 21-24; 36-45; 66-58;, 86-82.