ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Magnolia needed every bit of Romeo Travis' 50 points to dethrone Barangay Ginebra with a 112-108 win and reach the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup finals at the Ynares Center here on Friday, November 16.
After firing a PBA career-low 12 points in their Game 3 loss, the American import rebounded and erupted for a new career-high as the Hotshots finished the best-of-five semifinals duel in 4 games.
In the process, the Hotshots also crushed the Gin Kings' bid for a third straight title in the season-ending conference for their second finals this season.
Ginebra was poised to force a do-or-die Game 5 after leading 106-101 with under two minutes left before Magnolia unloaded 9 straight points – highlighted with a Travis and-one – to take a 110-106 advantage.
Justin Brownlee kept the Gin Kings afloat with running jumper with 15 seconds left to make it a two-point game but Paul Lee stretched the Hotshots' lead back to 4 by icing his freebies.
With more than 10 ticks left, Ginebra had plenty of time to go for a quick three-pointer and a foul but Joe Devance and Scottie Thompson both muffed their triples as time ran out.
Travis, despite nursing a hamstring injury, also added 13 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in the win while Ian Sangalang chalked up 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
"Our battlecry for this series is believe, and my players [showed it] – the courage, the determination, the hard work – everything paid off," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Lee delivered 11 points and 2 steals, Jio Jalalon chipped in 9 markers, 3 rebounds and 3 steals and Robbie Herndon and Mark Barroca added 8 points apiece for the Hotshots.
Brownlee churned out 32 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks to pace the Gin Kings while Japeth Aguilar had 25 points and 14 boards.
Scottie Thompson saw his near quadruple-double outing of 12 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals go to waste while LA Tenorio and Devance had 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the losing effort.
The Hotshots await the winner between the Meralco Bolts and the Alaska Aces, who will lock horns in Game 4 of their semis clash on Saturday, November 17, at the Cuneta Astrodome. Alaska leads the series, 2-1.
Magnolia 112 - Travis 50, Sangalang 14, Lee 11, Jalalon 9, Herndon 8, Barroca 8, Simon 6, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 2, Melton 0, Brondial 0.
Ginebra 108 - Brownlee 32, Aguilar 25, Thompson 12, Tenorio 12, Devance 11, Slaughter 7, Mercado 5, Chan 2, Mariano 2, Ferrer 0.
Quarters: 20-27, 51-53, 81-79, 112-108.
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.