Magnolia and Meralco teams opened their respective PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals on a high note at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, July 24, 2022.
Former Far Eastern University standout Mark Barroca lifted the Hotshots to a 98-89 victory over NLEX with a game-high 24 points to mark his career milestone as the 94th member of the league’s 5,000-point club.
The win was Magnolia’s eighth straight and the first in their race-to-two quarters showdown.
Another triumph on Wednesday would automatically book them a seat in the race-to-four semifinals.
Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva chipped in 13 markers apiece while Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Hotshots trailed by two points at the end of the first period, 24-26, but Barroca and his teammates got their acts together to rally past the Road Warriors to snatch a 17-point advantage at the half.
Magnolia never looked back to seal the match.
Hotshots coach Chito Victolero, however, does not want his team to be complacent after the Game 1 win.
Victolero said, “Basta stay in the present kami. Kung ano ibinibigay sa amin ngayon iyon ‘yung tratrabahuhin namin. We just tried to be focused for 48 minutes and we want to give our best effort, our 100 percent effort in every possession. We’ll try to be in the finals again but it’s a long journey, malayo pa iyon (We just stay in the present. What is given to us now is what we will work on. We just tried to be focused for 48 minutes and we want to give our best effort, our 100 percent effort in every possession. We’ll try to be in the finals again but it’s a long journey, that’s still far).”
The Road Warriors leaned on Anthony Paul Semarad who canned 19 markers as Calvin Oftana and Celedonio Trollano made identical 19 points.
Magnolia and Meralco recap
Meanwhile, the Meralco Bolts also took Game 1 by beating the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 93-82, behind the heroics of Aaron Black, Allein Maliksi, and Chris Newsome who poured in 25, 19, and 17 points, respectively.
Newsome said, “If we want to be a champion, we have to compete with the best; we have to beat the best. We love the opportunity.”
The Bolts skipper said Game 2 is another opportunity for them to overcome and climb the mountain as they have lost all of their five recent playoff showdowns.
He added, “Everybody knows the history of Meralco-Ginebra. It’s definitely something that’s on our heads, something we want to overcome.”
Meralco coach Luigi Trillo, for his part, said they have five days to regroup and keep their momentum for Game 2.
He said the healthy Bolts, with their recent victory, are even more motivated to work hard and make the Gin Kings uncomfortable in the next game.
Scottie Thompson erupted with another double-double feat with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Magnolia 98 – Barroca 24, Lee 13, Abueva 13, Sangalang 12, Jalalon 10, Corpuz 10, Dela Rosa 6, Wong 5, Dionisio 3, Reavis 2, Escoto 0.
NLEX 89 – Semerad 19, Oftana 15, Trollano 15, Nieto 12, Chua 11, Quinahan 8, Paniamogan 3, Soyud 2, Varilla 2, Ighalo 2.
Quarters: 24-26, 64-47, 81-70, 98-89
Meralco 93 – Black 25, Newsome 19, Maliksi 17, Hodge 10, Quinto 9, Almazan 5, Banchero 4, Pascual 4, Johnson 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0.
Ginebra 82 – Thompson 29, Standhardinger 12, Chan 11, J.Aguilar 10, Pinto 8, Pringle 6, Mariano 5, Onwubere 1, David 0, Tenorio 0.
Quarters: 32-25, 53-43, 80-62, 93-82.