The Magnolia Hotshots welcomed Chris Banchero but it was veteran Ian Sangalang who led the way as Magnolia clobbered Phoenix 97-81 at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday.
Led by Romeo Travis' 20 points and Sangalang's 17, the Hotshots improved to 5-4 in the PBA Governors' Cup and moved closer to a quarterfinal slot.
In his first game for the Hotshots, Banchero had 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
"I'm very happy with Chris. He did a lot for us today," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Banchero's arrival was a big boost for the Hotshots' bench, which outscored Phoenix's, 52-15.
Victolero, though, believes it was defense that allowed them to overcome the Fuel Masters. He was on point. Magnolia made the Fuel Masters bleed for their points. Phoenix shot a woeful 30-of-87 from the field for 34.5 percent and scored 21 points off turnovers.
While Magnolia is on the rise, the Fuel Masters remained on a downhill path after absorbing a third straight loss. With a 2-7 card, they are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Magnolia 97 - Travis 20, Sangalang 17, Lee 15, Banchero 10, Jalalon 9, Dela Rosa 8, Barroca 7, Melton 6, Pingris 4, Reavis 1.
Phoenix 81 - Gee 24, Wright 19, Mallari 13, Perkins 8, Napoles 7, Jazul 4, Garcia 3, Chua 2, Marcelo 1, Intal 0, Dennison 0, Kramer 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 41-31, 69-60, 97-81
Victolero liked what he saw from new acquisition Banchero, who practiced twice with the team before Wednesday's game. He believes there's more up Banchero's sleeve.
Magnolia led from start to finish. Its biggest lead was 16, 28-12. Phoenix got to as close as three points in the third period before Magnolia regained steam.
Magnolia vs. NLEX on November 10 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Phoenix vs. Alaska on November 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.