IAN Sangalang took charge when it mattered most as Magnolia finally broke through in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals with a 85-74 victory over Rain or Shine in Game 3 Tuesday night.
Sangalang had 12 of his team-high 16 points in the final quarter to rally back the Hotshots and score their first win in the best-of-seven series.
The Magnolia big man scored a jumper that broke the game's final deadlock and put the Hotshots in front for good, 73-71.
The Elasto Painters still lead the series, 2-1, a thing that was not lost to Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
"Nakabalik lang kami pero lamang pa rin sila sa series," he stressed. "But ang maganda lang dito is we have a chance. At least kahit paano naka-one win kami."
"Nakakuha kami ng magandang opensa kay Ian."
Sangalang was held scoreless in the opening half, but obviously saved his best for last,
After the Elasto Painters threatened for the last time at 74-76 on Javee Mocon's three-point play, Sangalang scored six straight points for the Hotshots to seal the deal, 82-74, with 50.8 seconds to go.
He also finished with 11 rebounds to join Rafi Reavis (11), Jio Jalalon (11), and Mark Barroca (10) to register double figures off the boards.
"We just tried to bring back the Magnolia Hotshots basketball, which is more a defensive-minded team. I told them na kailangang naming ibalik yun - yung aming aggressivenes, energry," said Victolero.
"Even though we are tired, even though (we played) seven games in 14 nights, wala kaming magagawa, that's our identity. If we don't do our strength, hindi namin kayang manalo."
Magnolia clobbered Rain or Shine off the boards, 71-49, and held the opposition to a paltry 28.9 percent shooting from the field.
Paul Lee was the only other Hotshot to finish in double figures, matching Sangalang's output with 16, including 3-of-6 from three-point range.
Mocon had 18 points and nine rebounds to pace Rain or Shine for the second time in three games of the series.
Beau Belga added 12 and Norbert Torres 10 for the Elasto Painters, who held a 63-57 lead going to the final quarter.
Magnolia (85) - Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Melton 9, Jalalon 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 7, Barroca 6, Reavis 6, Brondial 5, Simon 3, Ramos 2.
Rain or Shine (74) - Mocon 18, Belga 12, Torres 10, Daquioag 7, Yap 6, Nambatac 6, Norwood 6, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Ponferada 2.
Quarterscores: 15-17; 35-42; 57-63; 85-74.