The Magnolia Hotshots have pulled off something that was probably just wishful thinking when the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup started December last year.
And after losing their leader Marc Pingris in Game 1 of the best-of-seven semifinal series with the NLEX Road Warriors, the uphill climb became doubly harder.
But despite the odds seemingly stacked against them, the Hotshots fought through it all and emerged victorious in 6 hard-fought games to advance to the championship round for the first time since they bagged the third jewel of the Grand Slam in 2014.
Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon conspired in the closing minutes of the game to thwart any comeback attempts by the Road Warriors.
Ian Sangalang top-scored for Magnolia with 15 points but converted only 6 of 12 shots from the field. The 26-year old native of Lubao, Pampanga added 11 rebounds and a team-high 6 turnovers.
Barroca also finished with a double double of 14 points and 10 rebounds including the all-important steal and 3-point play to give his team a five-point lead with time down to 1:32.