ANTIPOLO – Magnolia won its second straight game at the expense of also-ran Blackwater, 97-87, on Friday night to give its playoff bid in the PBA Philippine Cup a much-needed shot in the arm.
The Hotshots repulsed one Blackwater rally after another to move up to solo sixth with a 5-5 (win-loss) card, half a game ahead of NLEX and Alaska [both 4-5], in the heated race for the final places in the quarterfinals.
Magnolia has now won four of its last five games to recover from a 0-3 start to the conference. The Hotshots also came out 2-1 from a punishing schedule that saw them play in three successive playdates.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said the team got what it aimed for.
“Pagod na. ‘Yung legs at isip namin, pagod na kami,” said Victolero. “Kahit papano, nakuha namin ‘yung goal namin before the All-Star break.”
Rome Dela Rosa scored 17 points while Ian Sangalang added 16 points and 10 rebounds. His back-to-back baskets in an 8-0 run to end the third quarter enabled the Hotshots to finally shake off a gritty Blackwater side.
Paul Lee also flirted with a double-double as he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds for the Hotshots.
Mac Belo and Allein Maliksi had 16 points each for the Elite, who ended another frustrating campaign with a 2-9 record.
Magnolia 97 – Dela Rosa 17, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Reavis 11, Barroca 11, Brondial 10, Melton 9, Jalalon 4, Ramos 3, Simon 0, Gamalinda 0, Abundo 0, Pascual 0.
Blackwater 87 – Belo 16, Maliksi 16, Dario 11, Eriobu 10, Al-Hussaini 9, Tratter 8, Banal 7, DiGregorio 4, Sena 3, Desiderio 3, Sumang 0, Javier 0.
Quarters: 20-20; 49-41; 68-61; 97-87.