Magnolia extended its head-to-head lead over Ginebra in Manila Clasico.
The Magnolia Hotshots made sure that the latest edition of the Manila Clasico would belong to them. But hey, it wasn’t easy at all as the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel were in total command during the first three quarters.
But the Hotshots overcame a 26-point first-half deficit to pull off the gutsy 93-91 win on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to improve to 4-0 in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Before making their move in the final frame, things looked bleak for the Hotshots. According to coach Chito Victolero, he issued a bold challenge to his wards.
“I challenged (my) guys to play the Magnolia Hotshots system, which is (all about) sacrificing, ball movement, and (keeping) a defensive mindset,” the 2018 PBA Coach of the Year said after the grueling game.
Among those who responded to Victolero’s call was Magnolia forward Rome dela Rosa. The 6-foot-3 cager was tasked to defend Ginebra import Tony Bishop, who ended up being a non-factor in the contest’s dying moments.
“I would like to especially thank Rome de la Rosa. He did a very good job on Bishop. The toughness of Rome, wala akong masabi,” said the 47-year-old Victolero.
“They responded very well to my challenge. I’m thankful for my players. I’m very proud of them,” he added.
What coach wouldn’t be proud after seeing his players put out an effort like that? Once again leading the charge for Magnolia was reinforcement Tyler Bey, posting 31 points, including four straight clutch free throws, 10 rebounds, and five steals.
“We work hard. I’ve been here for a couple of months. I worked on those shots in practice. I stayed after practice. It was just taking accountability in the second half,” Bey shared.
Down by one point, 92-91, with only eight seconds left, Scottie Thompson missed his layup attempt off their inbound play. He claimed he was fouled by Mark Barroca. But the referees stood by their non-call.
Jalalon split his charities in the ensuing possession, giving Magnolia a two-point lead. Ginebra had one last chance to send the game into overtime or nab the win, but Christian Standhardinger's jumper fell short.
The Hotshots won’t see action until December 1, when they stake their undefeated record against the NLEX Road Warriors.
Ginebra, meanwhile, will battle the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday.(PM)