Ian Sangalang scored 26 points, including the game-winning jumper, to lead Magnolia to a thrilling 84-82 victory against Alaska and a share of the PBA Philippine Cup lead at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Sangalang took advantage of a superb pass from Paul Lee and finished the job with a quick stab to give the Hotshots their second consecutive win and a share of first place with the idle Meralco Bolts and Rain or Shine. The Aces are now down to 1-1.
“We knew this was not going to be an easy game, we will have to sweat it out,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said after his troops survived the Aces’ remarkable comeback from an eight-point deficit in the final minutes.
The limited amount of time it took to prepare for this game added to the difficulty.
The Hotshots were slated to play TNT and the Aces were supposed to play Terrafirma, but the games were only postponed last Tuesday owing to health and safety rules. In the new schedule, Alaska and Magnolia were paired against each other.
“We had to commit to this because it’s hard, we only had one day of preparation, so we need to adjust right away. That short preparation shouldn’t be an excuse though, and I told the team to do hard work,” Victolero said.
The Hotshots rallied from a six-point deficit after 24 minutes to take an 80-72 lead in the second half, thanks to a 10-0 run anchored by Lee.
The Aces, on the other hand, didn’t falter, as Yousef Taha and Rob Herndon led a 10-0 comeback to take the lead, 82-80, with 1:08 remaining.
The Hotshots, however, were unstoppable. Sangalang levelled the count and Magnolia got the last possession with a Rome dela Rosa steal off Taha with 20.4 seconds. Sangalang was the winner after Lee drove in and set him up.
Magnolia is off to the best start in the Philippine Cup under Victolero, with a 2-0 record.
“Importante sa amin makakuha ng good start unlike nung nangyari sa amin sa bubble. 50/50 game ngayon, nagawa namin, thankful kami na nanalo,” Sangalang said.
Lee had 16 points and two assists, while dela Rosa had 12.
Taha led the Aces with a 20-10 double-double, but in the final 20 seconds, he made a critical turnover that hastened their demise.
Magnolia 84 – Sangalang 26, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 12, Barroca 10, Abueva 9, Dionisio 5, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Reavis 0, J. Ahanmisi 0.
Alaska 82 – Taha 20, Teng 10, Tratter 10, Banal 9, Herndon 8, Casio 7, Adamos 6, DiGregorio 6, Brondial 3, M. Ahanmisi 3, Browne 0.
Quarters: 26-25, 41-47, 65-66, 84-82.