Magnolia dodged a tragic 0-3 deficit in the 2021 PBA Finals after surviving TNT, 106-98, Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Ian Sangalang led the way for the Hotshots with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks while Paul Lee posted 19 points on 50% shooting from the field. Mark Barroca contributed 16 markers, 3 boards and 2 dimes.
Calvin Abueva racked up 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
The 2014 PBA Grand Slam champs led by as many as 18 points and weathered a late Tropang Giga rally in the 4th quarter.
“Yeah, we changed up. We changed up our defense. Siguro alam rin naman ng kabila (TNT) ‘yon. We go to man to zone. So we just try to limit Mikey Williams,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
“I think maganda yung depensa namin compared nung last 2 games. Importante lang dito yung proper mindset. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, we’re here in the finals because of our defense. So we just go back to basic. Kumbaga what happened before in the playoffs against Meralco and Rain or Shine. We just do it one game at a time, we’ve been here before and we’ve experienced it. And hopefully we can have a good rest tonight,” he added.
The Tropang Giga were able to cut the deficit to 4 in the 4th quarter but still failed to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.