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Magnolia turns back Blackwater fightback to complete hat-trick of wins

April 18 ------ MAGNOLIA stretched its winning streak to three games by taking down a pesky Blackwater side, 81-77, in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Mark Barroca scored 19 points in a low-scoring ballgame as the Hotshots recovered from a slow start to improve to 4-2 and close in on leaders San Miguel (5-0), NLEX (5-2), and Barangay Ginebra (5-3) in the leaderboard. 


Blackwater suffered its fifth straight defeat to go down to 3-5. But it wasn’t an easy win by any means for Magnolia as it had to outscore Blackwater, 22-11, in the third quarter to pull way after a 34-34 tie at halftime. Blackwater, determined to break its losing streak, even mounted a late comeback before Magnolia nailed crucial shots in the end game. 


Magnolia coach Chito Victolero admitted their game was subpar especially in the first half where they had 12 turnovers and only seven assists. They eventually finished with 22 turnovers and 17 assists. “We talked about the first half where our offense was disrupted because of the defense of Blackwater. We had a lot of turnovers in the first quarter. More turnovers than assists,” said Victolero. “I talked to the guys about execution, moving the ball, finding the open guy, and be smart on the execution kasi disrupted kami. Ginawa lang namin is more patience on offense and we want to be aggressive on defense to create points para kahit papaano, may easy points kami,” he added. 


A Barroca jumper put Magnolia ahead, 67-50, to cap an 11-5 run to start the final quarter. Paul Lee had 10 points including a three that put him one away from reaching the 1,000th milestone for his career. Ian Sangalang also had 10 points, while Calvin Abueva added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Aris Dionisio also returned to Magnolia after recovering from an ankle sprain he suffered during their practice last Good Friday. He had seven points and four rebounds. “Aris can play multiple positions. At the same time, he is a two-way player. He can play offense and defense. He can spread the floor. Marami siyang nagagawa,” said Victolero of Dionisio. 


James Kwekuteye had a career-high 23 points, including three threes that kept Blackwater in the game in the final minutes. Troy Rosario added 20 points for the Bossing. Magnolia will try to extend its winning streak in an out-of-town game against Rain or Shine on Saturday at the Tiaong Convention Center in Tiaong, Quezon. Blackwater will have a lengthy break before taking on NorthPort on April 27 at the Caloocan Sports Complex. 


The scores: 

Magnolia 81 – Barroca 19, Lee 10, Sangalang 10, Abueva 10, Laput 9, Jalalon 7, Dionisio 7, Eriobu 4, Escoto 3, Tratter 2, Ahanmisi 0, Mendoza 0, Balanza 0. 

Blackwater 77 – Kwekuteye 23, Rosario 20, Nambatac 9, Ilagan 7, David 7, Guinto 6, Jopia 2, Hill 2, Chua 1, Suerte 0, Tungcab 0, Casio 0, Escoto 0. 

Quarters: 17-20; 34-34; 56-45; 81-77. 





Editor's note: 

RAIN or Shine stretched its winning streak to five, defeating NorthPort, 115-105, in the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Beau Belga hit another personal milestone, scoring a career-high 28 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out seven assists as the Elasto Painters continued their rise after a 0-4 start. Jhonard Clarito added 17 points, while Adrian Nocum added 16 points for Rain or Shine, which now has the same win total as league-leader San Miguel, NLEX, and Barangay Ginebra. Zav Lucero had 29 points, his best in his young career with NorthPort, along with seven rebounds, while Allyn Bulanadi added 26 points. 


The scores: 

Rain or Shine 115 – Belga 28, Clarito 17, Nocum 16, Borboran 12, Caracut 8, Asistio 7, Mamuyac 6, Ildefonso 6, Belo 5, Santillan 5, Demusis 4, Paredes 2. 

NorthPort 105 – Lucero 29, Bulanadi 26, Rosales 12, Tolentino 11, Flores 9, Amores 8, Munzon 6, Navarro 4, Yu 0, Zamar 0, Cuntapay 0, Paraiso 0, Adamos 0. 

Quarters: 24-14; 48-38; 81-72; 115-105. 


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