In a stunning display of teamwork and resilience, Magnolia Hotshots secured an impressive 106-92 victory over Terrafirma, completing a remarkable 11-game sweep in the PBA On Tour. On Wednesday, the clash occurred at the electric FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City, leaving fans in awe of the Hotshots’ exceptional performance.
While James Laput’s double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds was undeniably pivotal, Joseph Eriobu stole the spotlight, igniting the court with his explosive second-half performance. Eriobu, previously immersed in 3×3 competitions after being released by Blackwater, returned triumphantly to 5×5 play. He showcased his skills by contributing all 15 points during the second half, single-handedly turning the game’s tide.
Eriobu’s resurgence is primarily attributed to the unwavering support and guidance of Magnolia’s head coach, Chito Victolero.
The 31-year-old Fil-Nigerian expressed his gratitude for the opportunity provided by Coach Victolero and emphasized the importance of translating his efforts into tangible contributions on the court, including intangibles and defensive hustle. Eriobu’s dedication to embracing these values has invigorated his performance and set an example for his teammates.
“Ang sabi ni coach, small battles kailangan naming manalo… para sa darating na season madala namin ito, ‘yung mga tamang ginagawa namin dito sa PBA On Tour (Coach emphasizes the importance of winning small battles so that we can carry these lessons into the upcoming season),” Eriobu stated, encapsulating the team’s collective mindset.
Terrafirma, on the other hand, faced disappointment as their aspirations to conclude the pre-season tournament on a high note were dashed. They finished the series with a 4-7 record, contrasting Magnolia’s unblemished sweep.
Javi Gomez de Liano and JP Calvo made a valiant effort for the Dyip, each contributing 14 points. However, their efforts were not enough to overcome the formidable Hotshots. Key player Juami Tiongson was only 12 points, struggling with a 3-of-13 field shooting.
Eric Camson’s 13 points provided some resistance for Terrafirma, but Magnolia’s lead had already become insurmountable at 92-79. It was at this crucial juncture that Eriobu’s presence was most pronounced. His pivotal three-pointer propelled the Hotshots to a 72-69 advantage, setting the stage for his subsequent scoring spree. Collaborating effectively with Aris Dionisio and Mark Barroca, Eriobu helped extend the lead to an impressive 13 points.
Laput assumed the mantle in the game’s final stretch, contributing significantly as the lead expanded to a commanding 106-89. Barroca and Dionisio’s performances were also integral to the Hotshots’ victory, adding 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite scoring only three points, Jio Jalalon’s remarkable 12 assists – 10 of which were delivered in the first half – were a testament to his exceptional court vision and playmaking ability. This pivotal contribution enabled Magnolia to maintain a 48-42 advantage as the first half drew close.
The PBA On Tour series has showcased not only the exceptional talent of the players but also the enduring spirit of teamwork and perseverance. Magnolia’s flawless sweep is a testament to their dedication and a harbinger of their potential success in the upcoming season. As the dust settles on this captivating chapter, fans are left eagerly anticipating the fireworks the regular season will undoubtedly bring.