ACTION continued to heat up in the Magnolia-Meralco semifinal series on Wednesday, highlighted by the two skirmishes between Cliff Hodge and Calvin Abueva that led to Hodge’s ejection in Game 2.
Abueva vs Hodge
Hodge was sent off from Wednesday’s contest after being slapped with a flagrant foul penalty one in the third period when his foot hit Abueva’s head with 1:22 left in the third period.
Hodge had already incurred a technical foul for second motion against Abueva early in the quarter, this time in a rebounding battle in the 9:04-mark of the period. The Meralco forward, on this occasion, was on the other end of a foot by Abueva to the groin area.
It has been an intense series thus far, but Magnolia coach Chito Victolero downplayed the incidents which are only the result of the two teams’ desire to win.
“It’s the semis. Expect na high emotions. Both teams want to win. They have to be in their best effort,” said Victolero after the 92-78 win.
Victolero had his share as well in this series as he, and Meralco center Raymond Almazan were called for a technical foul late in Game 1 for taunting.
Game 1 also had Allen Maliksi speaking to someone at the Magnolia bench before teammates stepped in to prevent the incident from escalating further.
After the Hodge-Abueva skirmish, Nards Pinto and Rome Dela Rosa were also issued with technical fouls for a verbal exchange in the fourth quarter.
Victolero, however, said the incidents on the court stay there, especially with the two teams staying in one hotel during the semi-bubble.
“It’s a battle of mental toughness and it is a physical game. Even the other series, ganun din naman. Dito lang ‘yan sa court. Pagdating sa Quest, magkakaibigan lahat kami,” said Victolero.
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