By JONAS TERRADO
(Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs San Miguel
(San Miguel leads series 2-1)
Jio Jalalon, Ian Sangalang and Rome dela Rosa made timely baskets in the fourth quarter and the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok pulled away to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-99, last night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The three players took the scoring cudgels when needed to showcase the Hotshots’ deep roster, accounting for 20 of the team’s final 23 points on their way to taking the driver seat in the series with 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.
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.
Meantime, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, yet to be satisfied with the way it performed the last time, shoots for a second straight win and a 2-2 tie with defending champion San Miguel in tonight’s Game 4 of their best-of-seven semifinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra reduced San Miguel’s hold on the series lead to 2-1 Monday night with a 95-87 victory, but coach Tim Cone urged his players to play beyond their usual game if they want to draw level after the 7 p.m. contest.
“We know that what we did in Game 3 won’t be enough to win Game 4,” said Cone, who wants an A++ performance from Ginebra in order to repeat over the favored San Miguel squad. “We’ll have to continue to lift the level of our game if we hope to even the series.”
The Beermen, whose attempt at a second straight comeback win fell short, try to redeem themselves and go for a commanding 3-1 lead, though coach Leo Austria said that Ginebra carries extreme confidence heading into the fourth game.
“We need to work hard coz they have the momentum already,” said Austria, who yesterday turned 60. “I hope na ma-realize ng team namin kung ano yung kailangan nilang gawin. Kita mo naman, medyo complacent nang kaunti because of that first two wins namin.
“Sabi ko nga, Ginebra, they’re playing with nothing to lose and everything to gain and alam nila na kapag natalo sila baon na baon na sila,” added the three-time Coach of the Year winner.
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, 53-51, 79-78, 106-99.