June 15, 2024

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Magnolia Hotshots end losing streak, thanks to Antonio Hester’s strong performance against Phoenix

4 min read

In their 108-95 victory against Phoenix on Friday, the Magnolia Hotshots were led by new import Antonio Hester, who made a strong debut for his team at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.

With a game-high 28 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, Hester provided the inside presence that Magnolia had been missing due to the absence of star center Ian Sangalang.

Coach Chito Victolero praised Hester’s performance and stated that his arrival has changed the team’s offensive and defensive movements, as he provides a post threat and opens up the floor for their guards.

STERLING DEBUT Antonio Hester shines in his debut for the Magnolia Hotshots, leading them to a 108-95 victory over Phoenix at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) Friday, February 10. PBA PHOTOS

Victolero also believes that Hester will only get better as he becomes more familiar with his teammates.

No less than winning coach Chito Victolero said so after his team finally crashed the win column on its fourth try while dealing Phoenix a second straight loss that dropped it to 1-5 overall.

“It changed a lot of our movements, especially ‘yung offensive schemes namin (our offensive schemes) because without Ian, we don’t have any post threat.That’s why we got this guy, to open up the floor, give our guards the chance to get their clear shots,” Victolero said.

Hester was not the only standout player for Magnolia, as Mark Barroca also had a strong game with 18 points, and Calvin Abueva contributed a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds.

STERLING DEBUT Antonio Hester shines in his debut for the Magnolia Hotshots, leading them to a 108-95 victory over Phoenix at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) Friday, February 10. PBA PHOTOS

Paul Lee and Jerrick Ahanmisi also contributed to the win with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Victolero said of Hester, “Good thing, three days of practices with us ‘yung defensive scheme and offensive scheme namin nagawa niya kaagad (Good thing, he did our defensive scheme and offensive scheme immediately after three days of practices with us).”

Jason Perkins top scored for Phoenix by hitting 20 points, while Larry Muyang and Tyler Tio added 15 and 13 markers, respectively.

Du’vaughn Maxwell was hindered by foul trouble and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, along with seven of Phoenix’s 19 turnovers.

STERLING DEBUT Antonio Hester shines in his debut for the Magnolia Hotshots, leading them to a 108-95 victory over Phoenix at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) Friday, February 10. PBA PHOTOS

The Hotshots took control of the game in the second quarter, using a combination of sharp shooting and Phoenix’s inconsistent offense to build a 58-34 lead and take a 22-point advantage into halftime.

The difference grew to as much as 27 points twice in the third quarter, and Magnolia cruised to a comfortable victory after Phoenix failed to mount a significant comeback.

As they gear up for a highly anticipated showdown against sister team and rival Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia Hotshots coach Chito Victolero is stressing the importance of preparation and hard work.

“We need to compete, we need to prepare and work hard for this game on Sunday,” he stated, looking ahead to the next challenge for his team. Ginebra, the reigning conference champions, is sure to provide a tough test for the Hotshots.

The boxscores:

Magnolia 108 – Hester 28, Barroca 19, Abueva 18, Lee 14, Ahanmisi 12, Dela Rosa 6, Escoto 4, Wong 3, Jalalon 2, Laput 2, Corpuz 0, Reavis 0, Dionisio 0, Mendoza 0.

Phoenix 95 – Perkins 20, Muyang 15, Tio 13, Maxwell 11, Jazul 9, Serrano 8, Manganti 6, Alejandro 4, Soyud 3, Adamos 3, Go 3, Lalata 0, Garcia 0, Camacho 0.

Quarters: 23-21, 58-36, 87-67, 108-95

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