MAGNOLIA delivered on both ends as it cruised past GlobalPort, 96-81, to get back on the winning track and boost its bid for one of the top two spots in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots erased an early double-digit deficit, tightening their defensive screws and turning to a balanced offensive effort to turn the game around and coast to their seventh win in 10 games that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Rome dela Rosa sustained his offensive emergence, resetting his career-high for the third time in four games with 18 points while Paul Lee contributed in his return to finish among five more players who scored in double figures for the Hotshots, who handed the Batang Pier their fifth loss in nine games.
“Para akong sirang plaka, but I reminded my players that we needed to have that playoff mentality,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said. “I’m happy they responded in the second half."
“I’m also happy with our defense because we limited Pringle,” he added as the Hotshots grabbed solo second spot that dangles one of the two twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals.
After all, Stanley Pringle was held to just five points after the Hotshots forced to him to miss all but one of his 12 shots, scoring three of his output from the foul line, in 31 minutes.
The Hotshots limited the Batang Pier to just 38.9-percent shooting (28-of-72) from the field overall
On offense, the Hotshots also drew significant support from Justin Melton, who registered 14 points, built around four triples, six boards, five assists, and one steal, while Ian Sangalang added 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Lee, in his first game back from a high-ankle sprain, finished with13 points, three boards, three assists, and one block in 23 minutes off the bench.
But it was Dela Rosa’s timely offense that spelled the biggest difference as he put on the finishing touches in the win with the steal and layup that gave the Hotshots their biggest lead at 99-76.
Kelly Nabong led the Batang Pier with 21 points and 12 boards in 37 minutes in a losing effort.
MAGNOLIA 96 — Dela Rosa 18, Melton 14, Sangalang 14, Lee 13, Barroca 12, Ramos 11, Pingris 6, Jalalon 5, Simon 2, Reavis 1, Brondial 0, Herndon 0
GLOBALPORT 81 — Nabong 21, Grey 13, Anthony 12, Teng 12, Araña 5, Pringle 5, Gabayni 4, Sargent 3, Elorde 2, Flores 2, Taha 2, Guinto 0, Juico 0
Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-39, 69-61, 96-81