The Magnolia Hotshots proved steady in the final minutes to edge the Columbian Dyip, 118-103, in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Back at full strength, Romeo Travis led the charge with 28 points and 8 rebounds. Ian Sangalang chimed in 24 points and 8 boards for the Hotshots, who snapped out of a three-game slump for a 4-4 win-loss record.
Columbian Dyip, on the other hand, dropped to 4-5.
"My players knew the importance of this three-game losing streak. We really needed to bounce back," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
The Hotshots always had a riposte whenever the Dyip tried to mount a comeback from a double-digit deficit.
When the Dyip trimmed the gap to six behind a 10-point outburst by CJ Perez in the first four minutes of the payoff period, Magnolia remained patient in distributing the rock which led to eight points by Romeo Travis.
That restored the order for the Hotshots, who went on to claim the victory that had eluded them since Travis injured his ankle against San Miguel Beermen.
"I'm happy Romeo is at least 85 percent OK now. The break allowed him to recover from the ankle injury," said Victolero.
Magnolia had a whopping 35 assists compared to just 13 by from the Dyip -- an area which was admittedly a point of emphasis heading into Sunday's game, according to Travis.
"We just knew that we needed to share the ball today. Last couple of games, we didn't share the ball well, we didn't move the ball. It was really stalling the offense and that made us play bad defense, so we made it a point of emphasis to just move the ball and today, it just happened to lead to a lot of assists," he explained.
Leading the Hotshots in that department was Jio Jalalon, who tacked on eight assists in a near-triple double (19 points, nine rebounds) for his best game since reports of an extension with Magnolia came out.
"I wasn't really thinking about the rumors," the guard said. "I told (team governor) Rene Pardo) that I wasn't doubting about getting traded. So I just played my game. The hard-worker in me disappeared, so I just brought it back. I just sowed, and now I'm reaping. I hope this continues."
Perez led the late-game Columbian uprising and finished with team-high 28 points to go with eight rebounds, and three assists. He committed game-high seven turnovers, though.
Khapri Alston posted 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Rashawn McCarthy wound up with 18 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
"We had a good start, the problem is we weren't able to sustain because the kids were tired. We played a tough game last Friday," coach Johnedel Cardel said.
Columbian still has an open shot at making the playoffs even after falling to 4-5, and Cardel is hoping the team can take advantage of an 11-day break before plunging back to work on barging into the quarterfinals.
"We'll just regroup [before] the Meralco game on Nov. 8. We'll settle down first and then we'll go hard again, work on our conditioning. It's a very crucial game, we need that to get in. I think with just one win, we can enter the playoffs. For now, at four wins we're still hoping. But our goal is to get one more," he said.
Magnolia (118) - Travis 28, Sangalang 24, Jalalon 19, Dela Rosa 16, Barroca 10, Pingris 8, Herndon 6, Lee 5, Pascual 2, Melton 0.
Columbian (103) - Perez 28, Alston 26, McCarthy 18, Tiongson 13, Cahilig 6, Corpuz 5, Khobuntin 5, Calvo 2, Faundo 0.
Quarterscores: 27-29, 61-52, 88-76, 118-103.
- Romeo Travis missed the game against Blackwater. He finally suited up for Magnolia against Ginebra but his movements were still limited.
- Paul Lee also had an all-around outing, finishing with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Magnolia - vs Phoenix on November 6 at the Cuneta Astrodome
Columbian - vs Meralco on November 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
ESPN5's Eros Villanueva contributed to this report.