Magnolia jumped the gun on the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters and never relinquished the lead on its way to a 97-81 victory, Wednesday night in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Hotshots followed up its 15-point win over Columbian with another double-digit victory to improve to 5-4 and completely recover from a three-game tailspin which almost jeopardized its quest to defend the crown. The 2014 Grand Slam champs are now in solo 6th, just half a game behind Manila Clasico rival Brgy. Ginebra. San Miguel is at 4th with a 6-3 record while the top 3 slots are occupied by teams from the MVP group.
Romeo Travis came 2 assists short of a triple-double as the former Best Import awardee finished with 20 points, 16 boards and 8 dimes.
“It’s all about our defense. Yun naman sinasabi ko everytime na may game kami. We need to lower the score and meet our goal which is 90 points and below,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero shortly after the match.
“I’m very happy and very proud of my players dahil yung depensa, pinaghandaan namin yan,” he added.
Ian Sangalang, who was adjudged as the Best Player of the Game, came through with 17 points while Paul Lee added 15. Chris Banchero notched 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in his debut game.
Alonzo Gee led the Fuel Masters, who fell into a tie for 10th place with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters with identical 2-7 cards, while Matthew Wright and Alex Mallari chipped in 19 and 13 points, respectively.
The Hotshots will be back on the court on Sunday, November 10 when they take on the league-leading NLEX Road Warriors at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Magnolia 97 – Travis 20, Sangalang 17, Lee 15, Banchero 10, Jalalon 9, Dela Rosa 8, Barroca 7, Melton 6, Pingris 4, Reavis 1.
Phoenix Pulse 81 – Gee 24, Wright 19, Mallari 13, Perkins 8, Napoles 7, Jazul 4, Garcia 3, Chua 2, Marcelo 1, Intal 0, Dennison 0, Kramer 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 41-31, 69-60, 97-81.