MAGNOLIA had a fine start to 2019 and made it to the finals of the Philippine Cup, but the season ended with the Hotshots failing to make it back to the Governors’ Cup title series.
Along the way, a trade and Gilas Pilipinas stint of two top Magnolia players highlighted the team’s season.
Magnolia takes SMB to the limit
The Hotshots’ best conference of 2019 was the Philippine Cup, reaching the finals against San Miguel after entering the quarterfinals as sixth seeds with a 6-5 win-loss.
Magnolia beat third seed Barangay Ginebra and edged Rain or Shine in a seven-game series to reach the finals.
Magnolia was one win shy of beating San Miguel in the rematch of the 2018 finals, scoring an 88-86 win in Game Five, only to lose the final two games including a nailbiting 72-71 defeat in Game Seven with Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee missing on their last-second attempts.
Barroca, Lee play for Gilas in Fiba Worlds
Two Magnolia players were called up to Gilas Pilipinas for the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup. Mark Barroca returned to the national team after being part of the original Smart Gilas squad in the late 2000s. Lee, also part of the Philippine team to the 2014 World Cup, returned to the national squad, which finished dead last in the 32-team field.
The Commissioner’s Cup saw the Hotshots switch imports from John Fields, James Farr to Rakeem Christmas, hoping to return to the finals after their runner-up finish in the All-Filipino.
They ended up in fifth spot with a 5-6 card, but got swept in the quarterfinals by Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-three series.
Banchero acquired in trade
The Hotshots made a deal during the Governors’ Cup, acquiring Chris Banchero from Alaska for Rodney Brondial and Robbie Herndon.
Magnolia wasn’t done making trades as the Hotshots also upgraded their frontcourt when they got Jackson Corpuz last December in exchange of Aldrech Ramos.
Hotshots fall short in Governors’ Cup title defense
With Romeo Travis returning as import, Magnolia looked to make it two titles in a row in the Governors’ Cup. But the Hotshots could only come up with a sixth-place finish in the elimination round with a 6-5 record after the team suffered a three-game losing streak including a match where Travis didn’t play due to a sprained ankle.
Magnolia’s season ended in disappointment as the Hotshots lost in the quarterfinals to TNT, 98-97, after losing an 18-point lead with Bobby Ray Parks scoring the game-winning shot to break the hearts of their opponent.