MAGNOLIA took a commanding 2-0 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals after a 101-97 win over Barangay Ginebra on Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots led by as many as 12 points but survived a furious comeback by the Kings with LA Tenorio and Justin Brownlee missing open three points in the end game.
Romeo Travis had 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Ian Sangalang had 17 points for the Hotshots, who are looking to sweep the semifinals on Wednesday.
Ginebra missed its head coach Tim Cone in the final period after getting his second straight technical foul early in the quarter.
“We prepared for a 53-minute game,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. “I knew it’s a grinding game. We tried to prepare mentally because we knew Ginebra wil bounce back hard. ‘Yung mga breaks ng game, at least kahit papano napunta rin sa amin ‘yung iba.”
Paul Lee had 14 points, while Rome dela Rosa had 11 points for Magnolia, which clustered seven straight points capped by a short stab by Sangalang to bring Magnolia’s lead to 93-81, the biggest lead in the game.
Earlier, the Hotshots broke a 59-59 deadlock with dela Rosa making four points in that run to give the team control of the match.
The loss put Ginebra, the top-seed in the playoffs, on the brink of elimination as the Kings’ bid to win their third straight Governors’ Cup is now in peril.
Brownlee had 31 points and 12 rebounds and led a late fightback with LA Tenorio hitting a three to pull to within two points, 99-97. But Ginebra was unable to tie the game following two good looks at the three-point shot.
MAGNOLIA 101 – Travis 25, Sangalang 17, Lee 14, Dela Rosa 11, Barroca 9, Jalalon 8, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 5, Herndon 1.
GINEBRA 97 – Bronwlee 31, Tenorio 15, J. Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Mercado 7, Thompson 7, Mariano 4, Caguioa 2, Chan 2, Ferrer 0.
Quarters: 21-18; 47-46; 75-68; 101-97.