The Magnolia Hotshots and NorthPort Batang Pier demolished their respective rivals to improve their standings in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup that resumed on Wednesday, October 12, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots, whose coach Chito Victolero still showed up after undergoing an Achilles procedure, extended their perfect run to 4-0 following their rousing 111-97 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors.
Magnolia Nick Rakocevic
Magnolia import Nick Rakocevic put up a gallant show, following the previous game’s scary mishap, by pouring in 36 points and 15 rebounds, handing the Road Warriors their second straight loss after a good 2-0 start in the mid-season conference.
“I’m a little tired and fatigued, but everybody’s making a sacrifice and because of it, it’s easy to push yourself some more and not to think about it,” Rakocevic said.
Jio Jalalon also got a piece of the spotlight with his 18 points on top of eight assists, six steals, and five rebounds off the bench as starting playmaker Mark Barroca chipped in 16 markers and four assists.
Paul Lee (nine points), Jackson Corpuz (eight), Aris Dionisio (eight), Calvin Abueva (three), and Aris Dionisio also provided the Hotshots’ needed support amid the absence of their injured teammates Ian Sangalang and Rome dela Rosa.
The Hotshots showed much firepower while Victolero, whose left foot in on a hard cast after surgery, stayed easy on the bench.
Assistant coach Jason Webb attributed Magnolia’s win to the combination of composure and each other’s appreciation of the sacrifices they’re making.
Webb said, “From top to bottom, you can see it. As a team, they’re appreciating each other’s sacrifice. And they drew inspiration from one another.”
The Hotshots were all over, firing shots and tightening up the defense for the Road Warriors to succumb to 22 turnovers. NLEX import Earl Clark was limited to only 15 points while Justin Chua and Kevin Alas scored identical 16.
NorthPort Arvin Tolentino
In another game, Arvin Tolentino steered NorthPort’s 87-83 triumph against the Blackwater.
Tolentino hit 10 of his 15 points in the final canto which made a huge difference for the Batang Pier. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds while Prince Ibeh delivered 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Tolentino said his first-half performance was bad after converting only the first of his four shots.
“Second half talagang nag-focus kami, especially sa defense. S’werte naman sumunod offense ko (In the second half, we really focused, especially on defense. Fortunately, my offense followed),” he said.
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, however, was not satisfied with the win as it was not the kind of game that he expected. “Hindi kami consistent, eh ‘yung consistency ang importante. We have to play defense all the way tapos ‘yung offense namin darating iyon (We’re not consistent, it’s the consistency that’s important. We have to play defense all the way and then our offense will come),” he said, adding that they will have a lot to improve.
Cameron Krutwig canned 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while Troy Rosario had 17 and Baser Amer with 16.
The Box Score:
Magnolia 111 – Rakocevic 36, Jalalon 18, Barroca 16, Lee 9, Dionisio 8, Corpuz 8, Ahanmisi 4, Reavis 3, Abueva 3, Wong 2, Zaldivar 2, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, Escoto 0.
NLEX 97 – Alas 16, Chua 16, Clark 15, Ganuelas-Rosser 15, Trollano 12, Nieto 7, Fonacier 6, Ighalo 6, Varilla 3, Miranda 1, Celda 0.
Quarters: 34-23, 58-48, 86-65, 111-97.
NorthPort 87 – Ibeh 19, Tolentino 15, Santos 14, Balanza 13, Bolick 12, Ferrer 7, Taha 3, Caperal 2, Chan 2, Salado 0, Sumang 0.
Blackwater 83 – Krutwig 28, Rosario 17, Amer 16, Ular 8, Ayonayon 7, Suerte 4, Taha 2, Banal 1, Ebona 0, McCarthy 0, Jackson 0.
Quarters: 16-22, 37-42, 64-68, 87-83