Magnolia survived Alaska’s late game rally to take a big 100-84 Game 1 victory at the start of their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup championship series Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots appeared headed to an easy win after erecting a huge 82-61 separation early in the fourth quarter but were threatened by a massive 15-2 Aces uprising to trim the gap at 84-76, still 4:23 to go.
Fortunately for them, point guard Mark Barroca found his stroke in time, leading a quick 9-0 retaliation in only a minute for a comfortable 93-76 gap which iced their series opener victory.
Import Romeo Travis led the way for the Hotshots with 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Barroca had an all around outing with 16 points, two rebounds, three assists and six steals.
National team members Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang also added 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Hotshots who started the game with a blistering 15-0 run.
“We’re happy to win this Game 1 but it is only the beginning,” said head coach Chito Victolero.
“This is a long way so we cannot afford to relax. It’s just one win and we need four.”
Best Import Race leader Mike Harris was the only man fighting for the Aces in this blowout loss with 20 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
Magnolia guns for a 2-0 series lead on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while Alaska will be looking for the equalizer to stay alive in this race-to-four titular showdown for the season-ending conference title.