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PBA: Magnolia playmakers key vs Aces

Victolero braces for Alaska’s return


Mark Barroca of the Magnolia Hotshots and Mike Harris of the Alaska Aces. (MB photo | Kevin Espiritu)

Magnolia Hotshots’ Mark Barroca, right, steps on the brakes after running into Alaska’s Mike Harris during a play in Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena. Magnolia won 100-84 at the Mall of Asia Arena. (MB photo | Kevin Tristan Espiritu)

by Jonas Terrado

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Alaska vs Magnolia
(Magnolia leads series 1-0)

The guards of the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok will be put under the microscope as they look to build on their splendid showing the last time and gain a 2-0 lead over the Alaska Aces in Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon are expected to deliver anew in the match set at 7 p.m. after playing lead roles in the Hotshots’ 100-84 rout of the Aces in the series opener at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Barroca displayed championship poise in finishing with 16 points and six steals while Jalalon produced seven points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals to provide ample support for import Romeo Travis.

Travis torched his former team by scoring 29 points on 13-of-24 shooting.

Hotshots mentor Chito Victolero, however, is bracing for adjustments from Alaska, which performed below the expectations of coach Alex Compton.

“We can’t afford to relax; we need to push ourselves further,” Victolero said in Filipino.

Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton and Rafi Reavis are also seen as pivotal in Magnolia’s bid to double its lead over Alaska in the series.

Compton, meanwhile, has called on his team to provide the same scrappy effort that enabled the Aces to reach the finals by way of victories over the San Miguel Beermen and Meralco Bolts in the playoffs.

Alaska fell into a 15-0 hole at the start and never recovered. Not helping the Aces’ cause was their 7-of-28 shooting from three-point land and 19-of-32 clip from the foul line with 25 turnovers.

While Barroca and Jalalon stepped up, their Alaska counterparts didn’t with Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso combining for 21 points on 7-of-18 shooting and 10 turnovers.

Import Mike Harris is looking to atone for his 20 points and 15 rebounds, a far cry from his averages of 30.3 points and 20.7 rebounds this conference.

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