Magnolia rode on a huge fourth-quarter surge behind its stars to thwart Meralco, 88-79, in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Sunday, October 3.
Ian Sangalang kept the Hotshots afloat in the second half, while Calvin Abueva delivered the goods in the final salvo as they drew first blood in the best-of-seven affair.
Sangalang churned out a game-high 18 points and 8 rebounds, including 12 points in the last two periods, which saw Magnolia trail by as many as 6 points before its inspiring comeback.
Already with five fouls after three quarters, Abueva found his groove as he scored 8 of his 13 points in the fourth as the Hotshots turned a 63-69 deficit to an 85-74 lead with two minutes remaining.
“The Beast” then picked up a steal and assisted Jio Jalalon for the bucket that gave their side their biggest lead of the game at 88-74.
Magnolia outscored Meralco, 27-15, in the fourth quarter as the Bolts’ offense ran dry, with no player scoring more than 4 points in the period.
Paul Lee backstopped Sangalang with 17 points, Jio Jalalon chimed in 12 points, while Mark Barroca added 11 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds in the win that avenged the Hotshots’ loss to the Bolts in the eliminations.
Rafi Reavis also made his presence felt for Magnolia with a near double-double of 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Bong Quinto put up a double-double of 14 points, 10 assists, and 4 rebounds to lead Meralco, but got limited to just 2 points in the last period as the other Bolts stars also struggled offensively.
Caram had 11 points and Mac Belo put up another 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the losing effort.
Magnolia 88 – Sangalang 18, Lee 17, Abueva 13, Jalalon 12, Barroca 11, Reavis 9, Dela Rosa 6, Dionisio 2, Corpuz 0, Ahanmisi 0, Pascual 0.
Meralco 79 – Quinto 14, Belo 11, Caram 11, Hugnatan 10, Almazan 9, Newsome 8, Hodge 7, Pinto 6, Maliksi 3, Pasaol 0.
Quarters: 22-17, 47-40, 61-64, 88-79.