Game Sunday (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
6:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Magnolia
(Magnolia leads series 2-0)
Magnolia leaned on its trademark defense down the stretch and held on to defeat Alaska, 77-71, to gain a 2-0 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jio Jalalon’s basket with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter broke a 71-all tie before the Hotshots forced the Aces to miss their final five shots to move halfway to capturing their first championship since completing the Grand Slam in 2014.
Struggling most of the way after a splendid showing in Wednesday’s 100-84 win at the Mall of Asia Arena, Jalalon found a way to make his presence felt when it mattered to finish with seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
The Hotshots go for a commanding 3-0 lead tomorrow night when the series heads to the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Import Romeo Travis produced 24 points and nine rebounds and Ian Sangalang turned in 11 points for Magnolia.
Magnolia won despite subpar showings from Mark Barroca (two points) and Paul Lee (eight points on 4-of-13), coupled with a more-determined showing from Alaska, which led by nine twice in the third.
Best Import frontrunner Mike Harris produced 22 points and 13 rebounds even as Vic Manuel chipped in 10 points but it was not enough to lift the Aces to victory.
Alaska led for the final time at 71-70 on two Harris free throws with 4:55 to go. Jalalon split his two charities for the game’s final deadlock, 71-71, setting the stage for a defensive struggle in the final minutes.
Jalalon’s basket put Magnolia ahead for good as Alaska kept missing shots and turning the ball over despite making its own defensive stops.
Simon Enciso had a chance to even the score but his drive hit the left side of the rim. Jalalon was fouled by Banchero, 15.9 remaining, after the rebound and drained two freebies for 75-71.
Jvee Casio’s three-point try then rolled out, and the transition saw Magnolia veteran Rafi Reavis throwing down a two-handed slam for the icing on the cake.
Chris Banchero had nine points but committed seven turnovers even as Enciso dished out seven assists.
Magnolia 77 – Travis 24, Sangalang 11, Lee 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Melton 5, Simon 4, Brondial 3, Barroca 2, Herndon 0, Pascual 0.
Alaska 71 – Harris 22, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Racal 7, Enciso 6, Casio 5, Teng 4, Exciminiano 4, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Baclao 0, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 20-22; 36-41; 61-65; 77-71