By JONAS TERRADO
Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs San Miguel
(San Miguel leads series 2-1)
The three players took the scoring cudgels when needed, accounting for 20 of the Hotshots’ final 23 points on their way to taking the driver seat for the first time in the series following back-to-back victories.
Jalalon scored 25 points, his offensive brilliance ending with a scoop shot for a 106-97 lead with 37.9 seconds remaining, Sangalang had 24 points with seven rebounds while Dela Rosa contributed 17 points and seven rebounds.
Veteran center Rafi Reavis was also key as he grabbed 10 rebounds while scoring his lone basket late in 31 minutes of action.
“Thankful ako na nag-step up yung guards at big men namin. We’re undermanned but we managed to dig deep,” said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero.
Magnolia, which won despite still dealing with the season-ending ACL injury of team captain Marc Pingris and Justin Melton nursing a hamstring problem, goes for a commanding 3-1 lead tomorrow night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kiefer Ravena scored 20 points, leading four NLEX players in double figures, but the Road Warriors lost steam after taking a pair of two-point leads, the last at 87-85 with under nine minutes remaining.
Back-to-back baskets from Sangalang put the Hotshots in front for good before Jalalon made a pair of bank shots followed by a steal that led to a Dela Rosa basket for 95-89, barely six minutes left in the fourth.
Futile attempts by the Road Warriors to edge closer resulted in a tough left-hander by Sangalang off JR Quinahan to extend the Hotshots’ lead to 102-93 with 2:36 to go.
Meanwhile, San Miguel’s Arwind Santos was fined P20,000 for comments detrimental to the league after his team’s 95-87 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel two nights ago in Game 3 of their own semifinal series.
Santos was also asked to pay an additional P5,000 fine for a Flagrant Foul 1 committed in the same game. Both sanctions were handed on the eve of today’s fourth game at the Mall of Asia with the Beermen looking to bounce back and take a 3-1 series lead.
MAGNOLIA 106 – Jalalon 25, Sangalang 24, Dela Rosa 17, Lee 14, Ramos 7, Simon 7, Barroca 6, Herndon 4, Reavis 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0
NLEX 99 – Ravena 20, Alas 15, Quinahan 13, Miranda 11, Fonacier 10, Mallari 9, Al-Hussaini 8, Gotladera 6, Tiongson 3, Taulava 2, Baguio 2
Quarters: 24-27; 51-53; 79-78; 106-99.