PBA Commissioner’s Cup

No-surrender Magnolia ties up PBA finals with another defensive gem

Delfin Dioquino

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No-surrender Magnolia ties up PBA finals with another defensive gem

SLAM. Tyler Bey in action for the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Tyler Bey shows the way as Magnolia limits San Miguel to under 90 points for the second straight game and contains Bennie Boatwright to his lowest scoring output of the PBA Commissioner's Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Many expected the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals to be over by now.

Instead, Magnolia knotted the best-of-seven affair at 2-2 after another defensive masterclass against San Miguel that resulted in an emphatic 96-85 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, February 9.

Tyler Bey turned in his best game of the finals as the Hotshots limited the Beermen to under 90 points for the second straight game and contained Bennie Boatwright to his lowest scoring output of the conference.

On a rare occasion Boatwright got outgunned offensively, Bey finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists to help Magnolia draw level – a scenario that seemed improbable after how the first two games played out.

There were talks of a potential sweep, with San Miguel winning the first two games by 32 points combined as they averaged 106 points.

But the Hotshots managed to flip the script on the back of their acclaimed defense, limiting the Beermen to 82.5 points in the last two games.

“That is one of our factors, our resiliency,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “Right now, we just need to dig deep, we just need to grind. This is not over. We like our chances.”

Mark Barroca delivered anew for the Hotshots with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks, while Paul Lee also netted 14 points, including that dagger three-pointer with two minutes left that practically sealed the deal.

With the shot clock winding down, Lee fired a triple over two defenders from way beyond the arc to give Magnolia a 94-83 lead.

Ian Sangalang submitted his highest scoring game of the finals with 13 points on top of 2 blocks, while Jio Jalalon added 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Hotshots.

Boatwright put up a conference-low 16 points and coughed up 6 turnovers, although he still recorded 14 rebounds in the losing effort.

June Mar Fajardo paced San Miguel with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals in just 25 minutes of action as he dealt with calf issues.

The Scores:

Magnolia 96 – Bey 26, Barroca 14, Lee 14, Sangalang 13, Jalalon 10, Abueva 9, Dionisio 6, Dela Rosa 2, Laput 2, Escoto 0, Tratter 0

San Miguel 85 – Fajardo 18, Perez 17, Boatwright 16, Trollano 12, Cruz 11, Lassiter 9, Teng 2, Tautuaa 0, Ross 0

Quarters: 27-19, 49-45, 72-73, 96-85.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.