MANILA, Philippines – Jio Jalalon came through the clutch to propel Magnolia to a hard-fought 77-71 win over Alaska in Game 2 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, December 7.
Despite finishing with just 7 points, Jalalon made them all count by scoring 4 of his side's last 6 points as the Hotshots gained a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship affair.
The Hotshots played catchup basketball throughout and even trailed by as much as 9 points before overtaking the Aces, 66-65, off a Paul Lee stepback jumper with 9:15 minutes left.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle from there with both teams trading buckets to reach a 71-all deadlock until Jalalon, who also finished with 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals, banked a tough shot in to give Magnolia the lead.
Alaska had plenty of chances to either equalize or take the upper hand but to no avail as Jalalon widened the gap to 4 points by securing his freebies with 15 seconds left, 75-71.
Rafi Reavis punctuated the triumph with a breakaway two-handed slam after JVee Casio muffed his three-point attempt for the Aces.
The Aces were kept scoreless in the last 4:55 minutes.
"Fourth quarter, 'yung defense namin nag-start, doon kami naka-run kahit lamang pa sila. Siguro 'yung mental toughness, 'yung defense, 'yung desire to win nandoon lahat," said Jalalon.
(Our defense started everything in the 4th quarter. Because of it, we were able to go on a run even if they were up. Our mental toughness, defense and our desire to win were all evident in the end.)
Import Romeo Travis paced Magnolia with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists while Ian Sangalang chipped in 11 points and 5 boards.
Lee delivered 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, Rome dela Rosa added 7 markers and Reavis had 6 points and 3 boards in the win.
Mike Harris churned out 22 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals for Alaska, which was haunted by a whopping 26 turnovers.
Vic Manuel was the only other Aces player in double figures with 10 points and 5 rebounds while Chris Banchero finished with 9 points, 9 assists and 2 steals in the losing effort.
Game 3 is on Sunday, December 9, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Magnolia 77 – Travis 24, Sangalang 11, Lee 8, Jalalon 7, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 4, Brondial 3, Barroca 2, Herndon 0, Pascual 0.
Alaska 71 – Harris 22, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Racal 7, Enciso 6, Casio 5, Teng 4, Exciminiano 4, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Baclao 0, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 20-22, 36-41, 61-65, 77-71.
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.