MANILA – Magnolia escaped a late scare from TNT and walked away victorious, 92-88, in Game 2 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal tie at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.
Just when the Hotshots thought their much-improved defense on the Tropang Giga compared to Game 1 was enough to force a 1-all deadlock in their best-of-seven series, the latter came alive in the fourth quarter and even came just close to at least forcing overtime.
Magnolia's defense held its ground on TNT in the first half, holding them to just 12 points in the first quarter and 29 in total.
"It's all about team effort and defense," Coach Chito Victolero said. "Ang sabi ko lang naman sa kanila (I just told them), 'We need to go back to our defensive mindset.' Kaya kami nandito because of that."
As the offense began to pick up in the second half, the Hotshots remained solid and even waxed hot to open the fourth quarter as eight straight points stretched their lead to as high as 19 points, 77-58.
However, the Tropang Giga, behind the clutch heroics of Mikey Williams, drew to within two, 88-90, with only 3.9 seconds left.
They even had a chance to tie the game when RR Pogoy appeared to have stolen the ball from Mark Barroca in the inbound play, but the referees saw Pogoy stepping on the baseline while going for the snatch, and the Hotshots kept their possession of the ball.
Barroca somehow kept TNT in it as he only made a split from the free throw line, but Matt Rosser fouled Calvin Abueva while going for the rebound and Abueva made a split of his own to ice the game.
Barroca finished with 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals, while Ian Sangalang added 20 points, eight rebounds, and one assist for the Hotshots.
"Di lang talaga ako yung nagpanalo sa game na ito. Kaming lahat. Yung game plan namin, nasunod namin, kaya nanalo kami (I was not the only one who won the game but all of us. We followed the game plan, so we won)," Sangalang said.
Williams finished with 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, and one steal for the Tropang Giga. (PNA)