Magnolia played with a sense of urgency after a 0-2 start, and got over the hump with a 98-88 victory over NLEX in a duel of winless squads in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the MOA Arena Friday night.
The Hotshots fought with deep resolve in particular in the final half, outscoring the Road Warriors, 53-39, in the last two quarters to nail their first win since a runner-up finish to the San Miguel Beermen in the all-Filipino tourney.
“I challenged the players to have that sense of urgency and the proper mindset as we tried to avoid a 0-3 start like we had last conference, and to bring back Magnolia basketball, which is defense-oriented. And they responded,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Finding no relief in their slump were the Road Warriors – not even with the addition of Jericho Cruz and not even with the return of coach Yeng Guiao from vacation.
Guiao didn’t finish the game as he incurred a second technical foul late in the fourth.
The Road Warriors continued to grope for form and reeled to a sixth loss in as many outings in the midseason tourney.
Magnolia 98 – Farr 24, Sangalang 21, Lee 11, Jalalon 10, Barroca 7, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 5, Brondial 4, Herndon 3, Simon 2, Pascual 0,
NLEX 88 – Mitchell 22, Ighalo 14, Quinahan 12, Lao 8, Erram 7, Cruz 6, Galanza 5, Paredes 4, Paniamogan 3, Monfort 3, Tiongson 2, Rios 2, Baguio 0.
Quarterscores: 27-29, 45-49, 73-71, 98-88.