Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said former La Salle slotman Ben Mbala would have stepped in if Romeo Travis was not able to play in Game 4 on Friday.
Travis suffered a grade 2 hamstring injury during the Pambansang Manok's 103-107 loss in Game 3 Wednesday night.
"I talked to Romeo [Thursday] morning and I told him I would need another backup. He approved of that because if he can't play today [Friday night] or Sunday, then [bringing Mbala in] would be our first option," Victolero said following Friday's series-clincher.
"Ben Mbala is actually here in Manila. He's here on vacation. And [assistant coach] Juno Sauler contacted him," Victolero said. "So we talked and he would have been our ready backup if ever we lost and [Travis] can't play."
Travis played through the hamstring injury and dropped a new PBA career-high 50 points and added 13 rebounds.
"Romeo was already hurt in Game 3. But he had such a big heart. I can't say anything more," Victolero said.
Travis and Magnolia will have time to rest. Magnolia faces the winner of the Alaska Aces-Meralco Bolts semifinals. The Aces lead the series, 2-1 and can finish off the Bolts Saturday night.
The PBA will then take a two-week break allow Gilas Pilipinas time to prepare for the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier. The national squad will play Kazakhstan on Nov. 30, followed by Iran on Dec. 3. Both games will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena.