ANTIPOLO – Ian Sangalang sparked a second-quarter breakaway as Magnolia put away TNT KaTropa, 116-103, on Friday night to secure a twice-to-beat berth in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals.
Sangalang scored 28 points, including 12 in the first half when the Hotshots set the tone for the victory that gave them a league-best 8-2 record ahead of a keenly awaited match with rival Ginebra on Sunday.
The loss left TNT (4-6) in a battle with sister team Meralco for the eighth and last place in the playoffs.
“Thankful (to my players) because we were committed to our game plan,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. “We were committed to our defense and our execution on offense. I think ‘yung lahat ng ginawa namin for the last four days, nagawa namin.”
“I told the players that we need to surpass the energy and aggressiveness of TNT. We know na they will go hard for this game. Kailangan nila itong game na ‘to."
Sangalang scored back-to-back baskets when Magnolia started to pull away in the second quarter. He added four more points in a big finish to the first half that widened the lead to 52-43.
There was more of the same in the third quarter as Sangalang's basket made it 79-62 in Magnolia's favor.
Mark Barroca scored 21 points while Paul Lee added 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals for the Hotshots. Romeo Travis was steady, delivering 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Terrence Romeo had 23 points while Troy Rosario had 21 points, but they couldn't save the KaTropa from losing in Jayson Castro’s first game back from injury.
TNT import Marqus Blakely completed a triple double of 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists in his first game against his former team.
Magnolia 116 – Sangalang 28, Barroca 21, Lee 19, Travis 18, Melton 9, Jalalon 9, Reavis 4, Brondial 4, Dela Rosa 2, Herndon 2.
TNT 103 – Romeo 23, Rosario 21, Blakely 17, Castro 13, Cruz 8, Trollano 7, Pogoy 6, Carey 4, Williams 4, Golla 0, Garcia 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 33-30; 62-48; 89-78; 116-103.