The Magnolia Hotshots did not take any chances against NorthPort Batang Pier with a high-scoring second period to cruise to a 96-80 win Friday. It was Magnolia's first win of the Governors' Cup and a satisfying rebound falling flat to Meralco in the first game of the conference.
"We just learned a lot from our first game," said coach Chito Victolero. "I told my players that maybe we experienced that so our character, our mental toughness and our mindset get strengthened."
The Hotshots lagged by as many as nine in the opening frame and trailed 23-16 to open the second, where they eventually shell-shocked NorthPort. Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca scored eight in a quick 11-0 burst to open that quarter before conspiring with Romeo Travis later on in an 18-0 kick to close the half with an imposing 53-31 lead.
Sangalang tied his career-high with 28 points while adding nine rebounds and four steals. Travis narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 12 boards and nine assists, while Mark Barroca finished with 16 points for Magnolia (1-1).
NorthPort was only able to score eight points and hit only three of 22 shots from the field during that stretch against Magnolia (37 points, 14-for-28), which continued to punish the Batang Pier inside in the third quarter behind Sangalang.
The payoff period was a bit friendlier to NorthPort, who opened with nine unanswered points to force Magnolia to push back until the final buzzer. They did just enough of that as the lead was too huge to overcome for the Batang Pier even if they outscored the Hotshots 28-14 in the final 12 minutes.
"Our problem in the first quarter was we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, but we controlled the second through our transition defense. We were able to control the tempo defensively and offensively," said Victolero.
"We played 48 [minutes of] very good basketball. We played the game we wanted to play, which is a defensive game. That was our goal, to bring back our defensive mentality," added the coach.
Mychal Ammons and Kevin Ferrer were the lone double-digit scorers for NorthPort by tallying 18 markers each. The Batang Pier shot a paltry 33.7 percent from the field to fall to 1-1 in the standings.
Magnolia (96) - Sangalang 28, Travis 17, Barroca 16, Dela Rosa 10, Jalalon 6, Reavis 5, Abundo 5, Melton 3, Lee 3, Brondial 3, Pingris 1, Simon 0, Herndon 0.
NorthPort (80) - Ammons 18, Ferrer 18, Mercado 9, Tautuaa 9, Bolick 7, Elorde 6, King 5, Escoto 3, Taha 2, Cruz 2, Lanete 1.
Quarters: 16-23, 53-31, 82-52, 96-80.
NorthPort was still able to win the rebounding battle, 59-55.
Magnolia forced the Batang Pier to 21 turnovers and just 13 assists.
NorthPort vs. Columbian on October 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia vs. Rain or Shine on October 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena.