Magnolia survived the pressure and hammered a thrilling 112-108 overtime win over NLEX in Game 3 of their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinal series yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots’ playoff experience spelled the difference as they successfully staved off the rugged Road Warriors and booked a best-of-seven semifinal duel against reigning champion TNT Tropang Giga.
Ian Sangalang paced the attack, delivering 24 points and 11 rebounds, but it was Jio Jalalon who shone down the stretch by scoring seven of his 16 points in overtime, alongside seven rebounds and six assists for the Hotshots, who came into the playoffs as the third seed behind San Miguel Beer and TNT Tropang Giga.
Paul Lee also finished with 21 points and five assists, Mark Barroca wound up 14 and Calvin Abueva delivered 13 markers.
“I told Jio that I will go to him for every possession. I saw it in his eyes, he really wanted to deliver the win for us, but we credit all the players,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.
“I’m very proud because we never gave up, that’s the mental toughness and grit of the players.”
After struggling to convert a shot in the last four minutes, Magnolia still found a way with Lee knocking down a corner trey that sent the game to extra period with 12 seconds left.
Jalalon, who made the overtime-sending steal, shone the brightest with seven markers, capped by a desperation three-pointer that gave them a 106-100 advantage with 1:49 remaining.
Don Trollano nailed back-to-back triples to help the Road Warriors move closer, 106-108, but Abueva and Barroca canned four shots from the charity stripe with five seconds to go to seal the victory.
Calvin Oftana finished with 32 points and nine rebounds — the most by any local player in a rubber match since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup — for the Road Warriors, who fell short of advancing to the finals anew following a heartbreaking semifinal finish in the Governors’ Cup last season.
MAGNOLIA (112) — Sangalang 24, Lee 21, Jalalon 16, Barroca 14, Abueva 13, Dela Rosa 12, Corpuz 6, Dionisio 4, Wong 2.
NLEX (108) — Oftana 32, Trollano 22, Alas 17, Chua 10, Semerad 8, Quinahan 8, Rosales 5, Varilla 2, Nieto 2, Soyud 0.
QUARTERS: 26-30, 51-54, 79-78, 97-97, 112-108.
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