Magnolia responded well against Alaska to jump to its third straight win in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, 95-90, on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ian Sangalang steered the Hotshots with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Romeo Travis pitched in 17 points, 15 boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks to help the team pull away late and climb to 3-1 in the standings.
Coach Chito Victolero said he liked how his players refused to slow down and relax entering their second game in three days.
"I told my players that the key there is we need to start strong, we need to match up or surpass the energy, the intensity and desire of Alaska because we knew they would come up very strong this game because they had their backs against the wall."
Magnolia was able to match up well for most of the match, with an 8-2 start to the third quarter even giving Magnolia a 15-point, 57-42 lead. The Aces, though, would hang around behind import Franko House and Javee Casio to slowly chip away and enter the final frame trailing the Hotshots just 71-70.
Alaska later cut down a nine-point, 94-85 lead to come within an arm's reach at 94-90, but the Hotshots' tight defense forced the Aces to miss thrice -- two treys from Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso, and one on a putback attempt by House -- in the final 21 seconds to extinguish any hopes of a comeback. Paul Lee then sank a free throw to seal the result.
Mark Barroca and Lee also added 13 and 11, respectively, as Magnolia rebounded from a cold-shooting night against Rain or Shine last Friday to shoot 48.1 percent from the field.
"The players probably woke up on the right side of the bed. We scored above 90, but this is a different game. That Rain or Shine-Magnolia game was a defensive matchup, and we both relied on our defense. The games had differing themes," Victolero said in Filipino.
Magnolia will take on the unbeaten San Miguel (4-0) after a five-day break.
"We're very happy that we were able to get through back-to-back games," said Victolero. "We'll just try to prepare for the next game, which is San Miguel. That's very hard .We need to rest for a while and we'll get back again in preparation for next game."
Vic Manuel led Alaska with 22 points and five rebounds, while Franko House had 20 markers and 13 rebounds in the losing effort for the Aces, who continued to spiral down after sinking to 0-5.
Magnolia (95) -- Sangalang 19, Travis 17, Barroca 13, Lee 11, Herndon 8, Dela Rosa 8, Jalalon 7, Pingris 7, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Simon 0, Pascual 0.
Alaska (90) -- Manuel 22, House 20, Banchero 17, Casio 9, Enciso 6, Tratter 6, Thoss 6, Ayaay 4, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0, Andrada 0.
Quarters: 20-20, 49-40, 71-70, 95-90.
- Alaska shot below 40 percent for the fourth consecutive game after making just 39.8 of their shots against Magnolia.
- Both teams combined to shoot a poor 12-for-41 (29.2) on 3s this game.
- Magnolia vs. San Miguel on Oct. 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena
- Alaska vs. Rain or Shine on Oct. 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum