The Magnolia Hotshots held on for a 77-71 win over the Alaska Aces in Game 2 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals Friday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Jio Jalalon banked a shot from the left wing to give Magnolia a 73-71 edge with 2:40 remaining in a game that featured airtight defense.
Jalalon's basket turned out to be one of only two field goals in the last 6:32. He would return to the foul line a little over two minutes later to can a pair of free throws before Rafi Reavis soared with an emphatic throwdown that sealed the game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Game 3 is set on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
"It all started with our defense in the fourth quarter. Our mental toughness, our defense, and our desire to win were there," Jalalon said.
The Hotshots' defense in the fourth period made a world of difference as the Aces had controlled the first three quarters.
Alaska's last field goal was a Simon Enciso basket with 6:32 left to play to put Alaska up 69-68. It was the last time Alaska would lead.
"That game was what I expected the series to be like," Alaska coach Alex Compton said. "Credit to Magnolia, they have been the best defensive team all conference."
Romeo Travis finished with 24 points and nine rebounds but had seven turnovers.
Ian Sangalang added 11 points and five rebounds. Reavis and Rome dela Rosa combined for 15 points while also providing the energy on defense.
Jalalon had seven points, and the same number of assists and rebounds to go with three steals.
"In the first half, we couldn't keep in step with them. We were a step late. I talked to them, 'If we can't match up with them, we need to exert more effort'," Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.
Harris paced the Aces with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Vic Manuel had 10 points and five rebounds, while Banchero had nine points, nine boards, and two steals.
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.
Quarterscores: 20-22, 36-41, 61-65, 77-71
-- Mike Harris was limited to a single field goal in the fourth period.
-- Compton was unhappy with Alaska's 26 turnovers, much of them they committed in the final stretch.