MANILA – Magnolia Hotshots showed its poise down the stretch as it cruised to a grind out 82-74 victory over Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 5 of the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup semifinals last night at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Holding to a slim 71-70 lead with under two minutes left, Hotshots got back-to-back hits from Rome dela Rosa and Ian Sangalang for a 75-71 edge. A three-point play by Rafael Reavis extended Magnolia’s lead further to 78-71.
The Painters showed some life at 74-78 after a three-pointer from Eduardo Daquioag but an inside basket from Reavis followed by two free throws from Jiovani Jalalon sealed the win for the Hotshots.
Andy Mark Barroca and Jalalon finished with 14 points apiece, while Reavis and Rodney Brondial chipped in nine markers each for the Hotshots, which took a 3-2 lead in the series.
What made Hotshots’ victory extra special was its key players struggling all game long with Sangalang held to just eight points, while main gunner Paul Lee finished scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting.
Both teams struggled with their offense early with the score tied at 9-all midway in the first period before the Hotshots came up with shots from Dela Rosa and Brondial to take a 16-10 lead.
The Painters had a strong start in the second period to tie the score at 22-all but the Hotshots created separation anew with triples from Justin Melton and Barroca for a 40-34 halftime edge.
The Hotshots went on to build its largest lead at 49-36 early in the third period but the Painters responded with a huge rally anchored on James Yap and Gabe Norwood to come to within 57-58.
It was a tight exchange for both teams early in the fourth quarter with the Hotshots keeping the Painters at bay with timely shots from Aldrech Ramos and Reavis for a 71-70 lead.
Norwood top-scored with 15 points, while Yap and Mark Borboran added 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Painters, which suddenly was on the verge of elimination despite a 2-0 start in the race-to-four series./PN