It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
Magnolia bucked a poor start and delivered a masterful performance in the second half to knock out GlobalPort, 86-79, and advance to the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots clawed their way back from an early 20-point deficit, 6-26, and ultimately seized control in the second half with Mark Barroca giving his side the 54-53 lead with 3:20 in the third period.
The trio of Barroca, Paul Lee, and Marc Pingris did most of the damage from then on as the Batang Pier unraveled with Terrence Romeo and their coach Pido Jarencio even engaging in a shouting match late in the third frame.
Barroca finished with 17 points, three assists, two rebounds, and two steals off the bench for Magnolia, which now awaits its foe in the best-of-seven semifinals against the winner of the NLEX-Alaska quarterfinals series.
Lee added 14 markers and hauled down 13 boards, while Pingris got 13 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
“It was a very tough game for us. We expected GlobalPort’s aggressiveness and energy, but that kind of start in the first quarter is what we’re not prepared for. They outplayed us in the first half,” said coach Chito Victolero.
“Good thing we had the second half to recover. Credit to my team. It’s a total team effort, and credit to our defense in the second half.”
Magnolia cashed in on the apparent implosion of GlobalPort as the second unit provided the much-needed lift with its 50 bench points.
But it was the Hotshots’ defense that got things done as they preserved their 82-78 lead against the rampaging Batang Pier in the final minute, with Barroca securing the steal off a Romeo turnover in the final minute before he drilled the insurance freebies in the end game.
Stanley Pringle saw his 31-point, 10-rebound and 4-assist explosion go up in smokes as it came in GlobalPort’s ouster in the all-Filipino conference.
Romeo added 14 markers on a 6-of-18 shooting from the field, to go with six dimes and five boards in the defeat.
MAGNOLIA 86 — Barroca 17, Lee 14, Pingris 13, Sangalang 11, Melton 7, Simon 7, Ramos 6, Jalalon 5, Brondial 4, Reavis 2, Dela Rosa 0.
GLOBALPORT 79 — Pringle 31, Romeo 14, Grey 9, Sargent 7, Nabong 5, Elorde 4, Taha 3, Teng 3, Gabayni 2, Araña 1, Anthony 0, Guinto 0.
Quarters: 12-26, 34-45, 61-59, 86-79.