Magnolia narrows series deficit

Magnolia narrows series deficit

THE Magnolia Hotshots regained some ground in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series with the TnT Tropang Giga by taking Game Three, 106-98, on Sunday to narrow their deficit, 1-2. — PBA IMAGES

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

THE Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots regained some ground in their best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup finals series with the TnT Tropang Giga by taking Game Three, 106-98, on Sunday to narrow their deficit, 1-2.

Had their backs against the wall after losing the first two games of the finals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, the Hotshots played with a sense of urgency en route to the win that reignited their erstwhile flickering title hopes in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association tournament.

Magnolia finally got the good opening half it was looking for in the series to establish a firmer footing in the contest.

Led by the trio of Paul Lee, Calvin Abueva and Jio Jalalon, the Hotshots took the first quarter, 26-20, and kept the Tropang Giga at bay, 52-46, at the break.

The Hotshots continued to hum to start the third quarter.

They outscored TnT, 23-15, in the first seven minutes to stretch their lead to 14 points, 75-61.

Making matters worse for the Tropang Giga was forward Troy Rosario dislocating his left pinkie on a flagrant foul by Jackson Corpuz with 3:02 left in the frame.

Mr. Rosario was then taken to the dugout to be reassessed while Mr. Corpuz was thrown out after being assessed with a technical foul earlier in the match.

But TnT continued to fight, going on a 9-7 run after the incident to cut Magnolia’s lead to just five points, 82-77, heading into the final quarter.

Rattled at the end of the third, Magnolia established control at the start of the payoff canto, extending its lead to 18 points, 95-77, with 7:49 to go in the match.

The Tropang Giga tried to rally back, narrowing the Magnolia lead to just three points, 98-95, with 1:11 left.

Four straight points by Magnolia after put the game away for it.

Mr. Lee led the way for the Hotshots with 21 points, followed by Ian Sangalang with 20.

For TnT, it was rookie Mikey Williams who showed the way 39 points, padded by 10 three-pointers.

Game Four of the finals is set for Wednesday.

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