by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Phoenix Pulse
(San Miguel leads series 2-1)
Magnolia survived Rain or Shine’s gallant comeback and escaped with a 94-91 to tie their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at 2-2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots nearly squandered a 21-point lead when the Elasto Painters charged back despite the ejection of coach Caloy Garcia in the third quarter.
Rain or Shine got to within a point, 92-91, on Maverick Ahanmisi’s basket with 4.0 seconds left but Jio Jalalon calmly drained two foul shots for the final count as James Yap missed a game-tying three at the buzzer.
Coach Chito Victolero heaved a sigh of relief as Magnolia turned the series into a best-of-three after winning back-to-back games.
Ian Sangalang had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Paul Lee scored 15 and the backcourt trio of Jalalon, Mark Barroca and Justin Melton combined for 34 points which was also key in Magnolia’s victory.
With its confidence continuing to increase, the Hotshots will take a crack at taking a 3-2 lead in Wednesday’s crucial fifth game at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Confidence is something Rain or Shine is hoping to regain after dropping the last two games.
The poor start also led to frustration for the Elasto Painters that led to Garcia’s ejection in the third quarter for a second technical foul.
But Rain or Shine fought back minus its coach as Javee Mocon scored 14 points and Yap, who later finished with 24 points, made it a 92-89 deficit with a three-pointer less than a minute left.
MAGNOLIA 94 – Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Herndon 0, Simon 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Nambatav 9, Borboran 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarters: 28-20, 56-37, 80-64, 94-91.