Magnolia catches fire late to beat NLEX in Game 5 for 3-2 semis lead

ANTIPOLO, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Magnolia Hotshots used a fiery 4th-quarter surge to subdue the NLEX Road Warriors, 87-78, and clinch Game 5 of their best-of-7 semifinals series at the Ynares Center here on Sunday, March 18. 

Magnolia avenged its 79-91 Game 4 loss last Friday, March 16, taking a 3-2 series lead and inching closer to returning to the Philippine Cup finals for the first time since the 2013-2014 PBA season.

The Hotshots momentarily led by 8 points in the 3rd period, 50-42, before Kiefer Ravena anchored a 12-4 NLEX spurt, where he scored 4 points and dished out 3 assists, to tie the game at 54-all.

But it was a different story as soon as the 4th quarter started as the Road Warriors started to misfire, scoring just 4 points in the first 6 minutes of the period, while Magnolia mounted a 75-62 cushion to pull away for good.

After firing 41.4% from the field in the first 3 quarters, the Road Warriors made only 6 of their 22 shot attempts in the payoff period for a dismal 27.3% shooting. Magnolia, meanwhile, buried 9 of its 19 4th-quarter attempts for an impressive 47.4%. 

"It boiled down to a best-of-3 series so I told the players na we need to go to our strength, which is our defense. 'Yun 'yung adjustment namin, kailangan namin dumepensa to win this series," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.

(It boiled down to a best-of-3 series so I told the players that we need to go to our strength, which is our defense. That's the adjustment that we made, we needed to defend well to win this series.)

Mark Barroca finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, two assists, and two steals to pace the Hotshots while Aldrech Ramos added 15 points and 9 rebounds and Paul Lee chipped in 15 points, 4 assists, and 3 boards.

Ian Sangalang chalked up a double-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks in the win.

Ravena had 21 points and 5 assists in the losing effort while Alex Mallari added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and two steals. 

Game 6 is on Tuesday, March 20, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Scores:

Magnolia (87): Barroca 18, Lee 15, Ramos 15, Sangalang 12, Simon 7, Dela Rosa 6, Pascual 4, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 2, Jalalon 2, Herndon 0, Mendoza 0

NLEX (78): Ravena 21, Mallari 13, Soyud 11, Fonacier 9, Miranda 8, Quiñahan 8, Rios 3, Taulava 2, Tiongson 2, Baguio 1, Alas 0

Quarter scores: 20-20, 37-36, 59-58, 87-78 

– Rappler.com

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.

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