MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATED) Magnolia nearly squandered a huge lead, but managed to hold on for a 94-91 triumph against Rain Or Shine in Game 4 of their 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series, Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
A massive second quarter saw the Hotshots lead by as many as 21 points, before the Elasto Painters mounted a furious rally in the fourth period led by James Yap.
Fortunately for Magnolia, they did just enough to outlast the Elasto Painters, as Jiovani Jalalon nailed a pair of clutch free throws, and Yap misfired on a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
"We just only tied the series," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero after the game. "It boils down to a best-of-3."
"I'm happy and proud of my players. They stepped up big in this game," he added. "We knew Rain Or Shine would come back, but the thing is, we held on to our lead . . . A win is a win."
It was a balanced effort for Magnolia, as seven players reached double digits led by Ian Sangalang who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Paul Lee added 15 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists; Jalalon had 10 points including the game-clinching free throws.
The best-of-7 series is now tied at 2 games apiece, with the pivotal Game 5 set for Wednesday.
It was all Magnolia in the first half, as the Hotshots limited the Elasto Painters to just 11 field goals in the first two quarters of the game. They outscored Rain or Shine, 28-17, in a huge second quarter that saw them lead by as much as 21 points, 54-33.
Magnolia remained in control in the third quarter, answering every Rain Or Shine bucket with one of its own to head into the payoff period with an 80-64 edge. Meanwhile, the E-Painters lost head coach Caloy Garcia with 1:43 to go in the third, after he was called for a technical foul for "physical contact with a game official" and was subsequently thrown out of the game.
But the Elasto Painters refused to fold easily. Strong drives to the hoop by rookie Javee Mocon sparked Rain or Shine, and Mocon's personal 5-point run with 6:45 to go made it a 9-point game, 85-76.
Buckets by Rome dela Rosa and Sangalang allowed the Hotshots to pull away once more, 91-77, with 5:08 left. That was when Yap came alive for Rain or Shine, as the veteran pounced on Magnolia's fouls to earn free throws. His split with 1:34 left made it a 6-point game, 92-86; he then drained a booming triple with 61 seconds to go to make it a one-possession contest, 92-89.
Yap turned the ball over with 34 seconds to go to give Magnolia a chance to pad its lead, but Beau Belga got a stop on Sangalang, and Maverick Ahanmisi zoomed to the other end for a lay-up that trimmed the deficit to one point, 92-91. Out of a timeout, Rain Or Shine fouled Jalalon, who coolly knocked down two charities.
With 3.1 seconds to go, the Elasto Painters still had a chance to tie, but Yap's attempt from behind the arc hit iron as the buzzer sounded.
"We just stayed composed," said Victolero afterwards.
Yap finished with a game-high 24 points, while Mocon had 14 points and Gabe Norwood contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately for Rain or Shine, they left plenty of points on the table, going a paltry 28-of-42 from the free throw line.
Magnolia also had a 53-43 advantage in rebounding, and their 17 offensive rebounds led to 18 second chance points.
Magnolia 94 - Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Herndon 0, Simon 0.
Rain or Shine 91 - Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Nambatav 9, Borboran 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20, 56-37, 80-64, 94-91.
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