By JONAS TERRADO
(DHVSU Gym, Bacolor)
2 p.m. — Phoenix vs NLEX
4:35 p.m. — Alaska vs San Miguel
Magnolia Pambansang Manok made sure that its big lead would be safe and secure unlike the last time and extended the frustration of winless Blackwater with a 94-78 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots leaned on a third quarter blitz to build several 19-point leads before sustaining their form till the end to shake the bitter loss they suffered following a massive collapse against the Meralco Bolts two days earlier.
“Very sad and frustrated kami after ng game but it can be a good thing or a bad thing,” said coach Chito Victolero, whose team was up 13 with two minutes left but lost 95-94 on Chris Newsome’s layup at the horn.
“It’s bad because we controlled the game for 46 minutes and in the last two minutes, na-out of focus kami, we relaxed and natalo kami. But it’s good because it happened early in the conference and we have a chance para macorrect namin mga mali namin.”
Mark Barroca came off the bench to produce 16 points and seven assists, Ian Sangalang also scored 16, Calvin Abueva had 14 points and 10 rebounds while rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi hit 12 points with three triples.
Blackwater, which led 20-10 at the start and trailed 44-43 in the third until Magnolia began to pull away, dropped to 0-6 for its 14th consecutive defeat dating back to last season’s Philippine Cup bubble in Angeles City.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Super LPG hopes to claim another win when it battles NLEX in the opener of today’s doubleheader at 2 p.m.
The Fuel Masters, holding a 2-4 record, enter the match riding high on their 78-77 comeback victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters two nights ago on Matthew Wright’s go-ahead jumper.
Wright broke a 76-all tie with 2.6 seconds left to complete Phoenix’s big rally from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit. It was also his only made field goal after missing all of his previous 14 attempts.
Expect Wright to come in determined to atone for his woes and show why he led the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game prior to the month-long stoppage of the season-opening conference.
Vic Manuel could have a longer appearance this time after playing just three minutes due to what coach Topex Robinson described as being “a bit under the weather.”
Also key are RR Garcia, Jason Perkins and Chris Banchero, who made big plays in Phoenix’s win.
NLEX tries to hike its 3-2 slate in the second game without Kiefer Ravena, who is in Japan to fix his requirements for the B.League stint with the Shiga Lakestars.
Key for coach Yeng Guiao will be another scattered production from his players, much like in the Road Warriors’ 84-74 victory over Alaska with Kevin Alas, JR Quinahan, Jericho Cruz and Kenneth Ighalo stepping up.
San Miguel Beer, also at 3-2, faces 2-4 Alaska in the other game at 4:35 p.m. as it attempts to make up for the collapse against lowly Terrafirma, which pulled off a stunning 110-104 overtime win last Sept. 1.
MAGNOLIA 94 — Sangalang 16, Barroca 16, Lee 15, Abueva 14, Ahanmisi 12, Jalalon 7, Corpuz 6, Delarosa 4, Brill 2, Reavis 2, Melton 0, Pascual 0, Dionisio 0.
BLACKWATER 78 — Nabong 19, Tolomia 16, Amer 9, Daquioag 8, Canaleta 6, Paras 6, Cruz 6, Enciso 5, Escoto 2, Golla 1, Torralba 0, Desiderio 0
Quarters: 22-26, 44-41, 70-57, 94-78.