Magnolia and its young crew completed a first successful title run for the franchise in the post-Tim Cone era, blasting a suddenly sluggish Alaska Milk team, 102-86, to win the PBA Governors Cup crown before a raucous crowd at the Ynares Sports Center here Wednesday night.
The Hotshots returned from a four-day respite in great form – pesky on defense, quick on transition and right on the money in their shooting – as they delivered the kill on the Aces and annexed a first championship since a grand slam under Cone in 2014.
Magnolia reemerged as champ with its merry mix of old guns in Mark Barroca, Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis and Justin Melton, key recruits Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, Rome dela Rosa and import Romeo Travis blending well under the guidance of second-year coach Chito Victolero.
But being a catalyst in their pressing game and running attack, Barroca won the PBA Press Corps-Honda Finals MVP award.
The Hotshots stoked the fire of their 79-78 escape act in Game Five, opening the match with 12 unanswered points and holding on to the lead all the way through in a wire-to-wire victory that wrapped up the team’s 14th crown since their entry in the league in 1988.