Here are the live scores, updates, and results of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup between the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots and the Phoenix Super LPG, scheduled on July 17, 2021, at 4:35 PM.
It’s a rematch of the Clark bubble tournament quarterfinal clash between Phoenix and Magnolia, which the Fuel Masters won to progress to the next round, where they narrowly missed going all the way to the finals. With Calvin Abueva and his tremendous energy being traded to the Hotshots in the offseason, the Fuel Masters are suddenly a different squad.
Magnolia is anticipated to bounce back from its seventh-place result in the previous tournament and potentially challenge for the title, with Abueva filling a key vacancy in the lineup. While teaming up with Magnolia’s old core, which includes Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Rafi Reavis, Ian Sangalang, and Rome dela Rosa, the 6-foot-3 is expected to deliver a significant boost. Magnolia has also added Jackson Corpuz, Loren Brill, and Jerrick Ahanmisi, all rookies.
Of course, after obtaining Vic Manuel, Chris Banchero, Bryan Faundo, Aljun Melecio, Larry Muyang, and Nick Demusis, the Fuel Masters must believe they’ve gotten all they needed. Manuel must somehow replace the void left by Abueva, while Banchero must bring energy and hustle in the backcourt. Then there’s coach Topex Robinson’s system, which should be a better fit given that he’s in his second tournament as Phoenix’s head tactician.
The last time these two teams met, Phoenix came back from a double-digit deficit by unleashing a blitzing 22-0 run in the last quarter to upset Magnolia, 91-84, and stop its losing streak at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga last year’s PBA bubble.
For the Fuel Masters, Matthew Wright led the team in scoring with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jason Perkins also had a big game with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Justin Chua and RR Garcia scored 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Hotshots were led by Chris Banchero, who had 20 points, and Ian Sangalang, who had 15 points.
In December 2020, the PBA held its last game, crowning Barangay Ginebra as Philippine Cup champion in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Unlike last season’s setup, the league will have a closed-circuit system for the Philippine Cup this time, with teams, league employees, and the media encouraged to keep a venue-home pattern to limit COVID-19 exposure.
The games will be held four times a week. The conference is also scheduled to go through the end of October.
The All-Filipino Cup will proceed to the quarterfinals in its customary format, with the top eight teams advancing. Against the eighth and seventh seeds, the top two seeds will have a twice-to-beat advantage. Meanwhile, in a best-of-three series, No. 3 will face No. 6, and No. 4 will face No. 5. Best-of-seven matches will be played in the semifinals and finals.