PBA Finals: Magnolia frustrates Alaska anew, takes 2-0 lead
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia followed up its strong Game 1 win and took a 2-0 series lead after taking down Alaska, 77-71, in Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots, who took game 1 100-84, can take a step closer to a sweep on Sunday, but head coach Chito Victolero and his team are not looking that far ahead.
“We’re not thinking that we’re up right now. We’re staying in the present. Right now, we’re looking at Game 3 because that’s what’s important,” said Victolero. “We can’t celebrate. This is a seven-game series.”
The Aces were still holding off Magnolia at the start of the fourth quarter before a back-and-forth ensued in the middle part of the period with in a fast-paced and physical game.
Jio Jalalon made a gutsy leaner off the glass with 2:40 left that gave the Hotshots a 73-71 lead and that line lasted for more almost two minutes as two teams got into a slugfest with neither getting a decent shot up.
“In the first half, we weren’t able to match them it’s like we were a step late,” added Victolero whose team trailed 41-36 after the second quarter. “I talked to them that if we can’t match up with them, we need to exert more effort.”
Jalalon iced the game from the free throw line for Magnolia’s 75-71 lead with 15.9 ticks remaining.
Romeo Travis paced the Hotshots with 24 points and nine rebounds while Ian Sangalang added 11 points and five boards.
Jalalon struggled offensively for seven points, on 2-of-9 shooting, but made up for it with seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
Mike Harris led the Aces with 22 points and 12 rebounds but he turned the ball over seven times.
Alaska had a total of 26 turnovers that led to 15 Magnolia points.
Magnolia is on the hunt for its 14th championship after its last one in the 2014 Governors’ Cup, which was part of the league’s last Grand Slam.
The Aces, meanwhile, are attempting to end their five-year title drought and add one more title to their collection that already has 14 trophies making them the second winningest franchise in PBA history behind San Miguel that has 25.
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