For the first time this season, the Magnolia Hotshots came through in the clutch, downing their archrivals in the process.
The Magnolia Hotshots dealt Brgy. Ginebra its first loss of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, 102-92, in what could perhaps be the lone offering of the "Manila Clasico" this season at the AUF Arena on Sunday evening.
"Our three losses, we felt that we could have one. In the last two, three minutes of the game, our mental toughness seems to fade. That's not our character. That's not the Magnolia Hotshots basketball character," said winning head coach Chito Victolero in Filipino during the post-game presser.
"I talked to the guys and I told them, 'We are not blown out, we are not yet losers. We controlled the first 45 minutes of the game. The problem is that we could not finish the game. And I am very happy [after the win]," he added.
Magnolia went down by as much as 10 in the third, 75-65, at the 3:14 mark, before mustering 13 unanswered points to go ahead, 78-75, courtesy of a three-point play by Paul Lee, with 25.1 left in the period. The Hotshots never relinquished the lead until the final buzzer.
In the fourth quarter, Magnolia zoomed to an early five-point spread, 84-79, following a stepback jumper by Chris Banchero, 9:04 left. Ginebra responded with a mini 6-2 run to come within 1, 86-85, but the Hotshots finally came through in crunch time, from timely free throws by Lee and Rafi Reavis to create a comfortable cushion.
Lee, who finished the game with 15 markers, closed the door with a long triple over Scottie Thompson to lead by 10, 99-89, at around the 58-second mark of the fourth. Jackson Corpuz, on the other hand, led the team in scoring, as he contributed 20 markers, with 6 boards to boot. Mark Barroca added 15 points as well, while Ian Sangalang submitted 14 markers and 8 caroms.
Pringle scored a game-high 24, and added 6 rebounds for Ginebra. Japeth Aguilar contributed 13.
Victolero noted that a fire was lit among his players when he talked to them on Saturday evening.
"I challenged them that this is the real bounce-back game that we could do to get back in the [standings], to go back to where we could go. The veterans - Paul Lee, Rafi Reavis, Mark Barroca, Ian Sangalang - stepped up. We just needed to enjoy," recalled the former PBA Coach of the Year.
Magnolia (102) -- Corpuz 20, Lee 15, Barroca 15, Sangalang 14, dela Rosa 13, Banchero 10, Jalalon 9, Reavis 6, Melton 0, Calisaan 0, Abundo 0, Pascual 0, Saitanan 0, Dionisio 0.
Ginebra (92) -- Pringle 24, Aguilar 13, Thompson 10, Dillinger 9, Chan 9, Caperal 8, Tenorio 6, Tolentino 6, Mariano 4, Devance 3, Salado 0, Dela Cruz 0, Aguilar 0, Caguioa 0, Balanza 0.
Quarter Scores: 25-25, 52-54, 78-77, 102-92.
- Magnolia improved its head-to-head record against Ginebra, 103-95, per league statistician Fidel Mangonon, III.
- The loss snaps Ginebra's four-game win streak against the Purefoods franchise, having won 15 of the last 20, including the last 11 elimination games.
Magnolia vs Blackwater on Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. (pending RT-PCR results of Elite player)
Brgy. Ginebra vs San Miguel on Oct. 30 at 6:45 p.m.