THE real Magnolia showed up in the second half as it added to the misery of Kia with a 124-77 dismantling on Wednesday night to get back on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Hotshots saw the Picanto put up a tough challenge in the first half, before turning it up in the third quarter, where they outscored their hapless opponents, 34-11, to break the game wide open.
Ian Sangalang and Justin Melton provided a huge spark off the bench, while Paul Lee ignited the breakaway in the third canto as the Hotshots coasted to their second win in three games.
The result spoiled the debut of new Kia coach Ricky Dandan as the Picanto reeled to their third straight defeat and 15th overall, the longest losing streak in the league in the last decade.
“This is our first game of the year and I just told my players to start it right,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said. “We just needed to adjust in the second half especially our defense.”
The Hotshots looked like they were merely going through the motions in the first half, which ended with the Picanto taking a two-point lead, thanks to a spirited showing to the delight of Dandan.
But Magnolia buckled down to work after the intermission, tightening up the defensive screws to outscore Kia by 23 points, with their defense translating to offense led by Lee, who scored all his 13 points in the third quarter.
Melton put up his best game early in the season, tallying 23 points, eight assists, six boards, and one steal in 26 minutes off the bench, while Sangalang anchored the middle and finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 25 minutes.
Jio Jalalon made his season debut after being sidelined with a knee injury the first two games, conspiring with Mark Barroca in leading the way for the Hotshots’ suffocating defense.
The 47-point beating matched the Picanto’s worst defeat in franchise history after surrendering a 128-81 decision last September 22 against – you guessed it – also the Hotshots.
Three of the four worst defeats of Kia in franchise history have come at hands of the Purefoods franchise, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III
Jay-R Reyes led the Picanto with 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and one block in 37 minutes in a losing effort.
MAGNOLIA 124 – Melton 23, Sangalang 21, Herndon 14, Lee 13, Simon 11, Jalalon 11, Ramos 7, Gamalinda 6, Pingris 6, Barroca 4, Pascual 4, Dela Rosa 2, Brondial 2
KIA 77 – Reyes 12, McCarthy 11, Celda 11, Tubid 11, Corpuz 9, Yee 6, Khobuntin 5, Paniamogan 5, Jamon 3, Caperal 2, Sara 2, Camson 0, Ababou 0, Galanza 0
Quarterscores: 22-22, 49-47, 81-60, 124-77