MAGNOLIA drew first blood of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals after a wire-to-wire win over Alaska, 100-84, in Game 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots hardly showed any sign of rust coming off a two-week break after the league gave way to the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers, scoring the first 15 straight points of Game One.
Romeo Travis had 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Mark Barroca had 16 points and six steals for the Hotshots, who led by as many as 21 points.
It was also Barroca who played the fireman's role in the final stretch, scoring five straight points after the Aces battled to within eight points.
Game Two is slated on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum with the Hotshots going for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero was glad the Hotshots were able to stay sharp despite the long respite.
“We are happy to win Game One, but this is only the start. After tonight, we need to prepare hard. Our mindset is do-or-die,” said Victolero.
“There's a long way to go. Hindi kami dapat mag-relax. Kailangan naming mag-push pa because it’s a best-of-seven [series]. Isa pa lang nakukuha namin,” he added.
Alaska dug itself into a hole after being held scoreless in the first six minutes of the game. The Aces also didn’t help their cause when they missed 13 free throws.
Still, the Aces showed one last fight in a 15-2 run that cut the deficit down to eight only for Barroca to spoil their effort.
Mike Harris had 20 points and 15 rebounds, but only had three points in the final quarter. Chris Banchero added 12 points and six assists for the Aces.
Magnolia 100 – Travis 29, Barroca 16, Lee 14, Sangalang 10, Herndon 9, Melton 7, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Mendoza 0, Dela Rosa 0, Pascual 0, Brondial 0.
Alaska 84 – Harris 20, Banchero 12, Teng 10, Enciso 9, Casio 7, Racal 6, Manuel 6, Pasucal 5, Thoss 3, Cruz 3, Galliguez 3, Baclao 0, Exciminiano 0, Andrada 0.
Quarters: 24-14; 52-40; 77-58; 100-84.