PBA Finals: Magnolia backcourt shines in Game 1 win
Paul Lintag on May 01, 2019 10:03 PM
The Hotshots took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 for a repeat of the 2018 Finals.
Magnolia’s strength has always been with its superior guard rotation and to start the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, that was pretty evident.
The Hotshots relied on their backcourt to issue a strong opening statement in these All-Filipino Finals, beating four-time champion San Miguel Beer in Game 1 Wednesday at the Big Dome, 99-94.
The trio of Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, and Jio Jalalon all showed up as Magnolia withstood a big effort from five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo for San Miguel.
Even Justin Melton had some key contributions as the Hotshots took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 for a repeat of the 2018 Finals.
“I talked to my players during halftime, I told them that we can’t beat San Miguel in an offensive game. They scored 55 in the first half and hindi yun yung game namin. Although nakaka-shoot kami, pero di namin nagagawa kung ano kami, kung ano yung identity namin,” head coach Chito Victolero said.
“So I’m very happy nag nag-respond sila na we had to play defense in the second half. And we limited them to under a hundred points, that’s the key,” he added.
Magnolia engaged San Miguel in a high-scoring affir to start. But after a 34-30 lead in the opening period, the Hotshots slowed down and the Beermen took control.
It was in the third quarter when the Hotshots turned the game with their signature defense, holding the four-time champions to only 18 points and got some cushion by building a 10-point lead.
However, Magnolia had to keep its composure in the fourth with San Miguel going almost exclusively to June Mar Fajardo.
The five-time MVP led the Beermen offense with 15 points in the fourth but once it was time to go for a game-tying bucket, San Miguel went to its star shooter in Marcio Lassiter.
Magnolia dodged a bullet as Lassiter badly missed a corner triple for the tie with 19 seconds to go. Paul Lee then sealed the game with a couple of free throws on the other end.
Lee led the Hotshots with 18 points while Mark Barroca added 17. Jio Jalalon and Justin Melton posted 16 and 11 points off the bench respectively to complete Magnolia’s backcourt production.
Ian Sangalang also had a strong game for the challengers, notching a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Sangalang also hit a crucial jumper with 1:16 to go that gave them a 97-94 lead.
The Beermen got 35 points and 21 rebounds from June Mar Fajardo in a losing effort.
In contrast to Magnolia, San Miguel’s backcourt pretty much fired blanks with Lassiter the chief suspect. Playing 33 minutes, Marcio was not so super and finished with zero points on 0/8 shooting.
Game 2 is on Friday also at the Big Dome.
MAGNOLIA 99 - Lee 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 17, Jalalon 16, Reavis 12, Melton 11, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 4, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.
SAN MIGUEL 94 - Fajardo 35, Cabagnot 18, Santos 13, Pessumal 11, Romeo 8, Ross 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Standhardinger 2, Nabong 0, Lassiter 0.
Quarters: 34-30, 52-55, 80-73, 99-94.
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