MANILA (UPDATED) - The Magnolia Hotshots are one step closer to the semifinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup after an 81-70 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
After trailing at the half, the Hotshots imposed their will in the third quarter to seize complete control of the game and eventually take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Ian Sangalang earned Player of the Game honors after putting up 19 points and 13 rebounds. Paul Lee didn't have his best shooting performance, making just six of 22 shots, but he still had 20 points and his three-pointer with a minute and 10 left served as the dagger.
Jio Jalalon and Rome dela Rosa each had 10 points, and the Hotshots had a massive 66-43 rebounding edge against the Elasto Painters. Their 23 offensive rebounds led to 21 second-chance points.
"We have that mental toughness, and we're ready on any physical game," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "We worked on our execution on both ends of the floor. That's why siguro we keep on grinding, we keep on grinding."
"Nakita niyo naman, we're down in the first half, but sa second half, we keep on executing. I think that's the most important thing. We execute, and we get the W," he added.
Rain or Shine led 42-37 at the half, but Magnolia completely turned the game around in the third quarter wherein they outscored the Elasto Painters, 23-8. The Hotshots made 10 of their 21 field goals in the period, while limiting ROS to just 2-of-16 shooting in the pivotal quarter.
After a layup by ROS rookie Santi Santillan made it 44-40, the Hotshots scored 10 unanswered points to surge ahead. Rain or Shine won't make another field goal until the closing seconds of the quarter, when Rey Nambatac drilled a three-pointer to beat the shot clock.
Despite their offensive woes, ROS stayed within striking distance and got the deficit down to five points, 69-64, with still over six minutes to go. But Lee and Sangalang had an answer every time the Elasto Painters threatened to make a run. Lee drained a triple that pushed the lead back to 10 points, 77-67, with 1:10 to go, and while Javee Mocon made a three-pointer of his own on the other end, it was too little, too late for Rain or Shine.
Santillan led ROS with 17 points, and Nambatac finished with 16 markers. But the Elasto Painters couldn't fully recover from their woeful third frame, and had trouble keeping the Hotshots off the boards all game long.
The Scores :
MAGNOLIA 81 – Lee 20, Sangalang 19, Dela Rosa 10, Jalalon 10, Barroca 8, Abueva 8, Corpuz 4, Pascual 2, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0
RAIN OR SHINE 70 – Santillan 17, Nambatac 16, Mocon 11, Belga 8, Borboran 5, Caracut 3, Norwood 3, Ponferada 3, Torres 2, Yap 2, Wong 0, Asistio 0
Quarters : 21-16, 37-42, 60-50, 81-70