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    Magnolia wins anew, sends Ginebra to the brink of elimination

    MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia Hotshots scored another win against Barangay Ginebra, 101-97 and for the 2-0 lead in their best-of-five 2018 Governors’ Cup semis series on Monday, November 12, 2018 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Paul Lee’s 14 points helped Magnolia made it two-in-row over Ginebra
    Paul Lee’s 14 points helped Magnolia made it two-in-row over Ginebra and earned the best player of the game award | Photo Credit: pba.ph

    Winning against Ginebra could be a blessing and at the same time could also be a curse. The Magnolia Hotshots, after claiming game 1 are still worried about the Gins’ ability to turn the tides.

    READ: Magnolia stuns Ginebra, takes PBA semis opener

    “Knowing Coach Tim Cone, you beat him once, he’ll beat you twice.” Said Paul Lee in an interview prior to game 2 and obviously preparing himself for a possible retaliation from Barangay Ginebra.

    LA Tenorio who didn’t do much last Saturday found his rhythm earlier than expected especially from the rainbow arc and the reason why Ginebra caught up with Magnolia in the 1st period.

    Compared to the 1st quarter ending of the previous game where Ginebra totally dominated Magnolia, it was the Hotshot who had the tiny advantage of 21-18.

    Magnolia widened the scoring gap with just barely a minute gone by after the 2nd quarter started that left Coach Cone no other choice but to call a ceasefire.

    Tim Cone tried several players in his rotation with the hope to find a perfect five that can match Magnolia’s tenacity and intensity. He even fielded in veteran Mark Caguioa and Kevin Ferrer early in the second.

    One of the main problems that Ginebra faced in this game was the offensive rebounding skills of the Hotshots. Coach Chito Victolero might have a smaller lineup, but all of his boys dove for the loseballs and tried to convert them into points.

    Greg Slaughter who didn’t have much impact in game 2, stepped up in the 2nd period and made 8 points. With “Gregzilla’s” gigantic effort, Magnolia just possessed a 1-point 47-46 lead at the half.

    Ginebra became more alive as they began the 3rd quarter campaign. The Gins managed to even the game at 59 with Japeth Aguilar’s help.

    Aside from offensive boards, good ball movement became Hotshots’ way to renew its double-digit lead in the third. The combination of Justin Melton and Jio Jalalon was just amazing and made it even more harder for Coach Tim to decode Coach Chito’s offensive plays.

    Magnolia wrapped up the penultimate quarter with a 75-68 advantage.

    Silently, Justin Brownlee had quite of a good night with 23 points already early in the final quarter. However, no local was there to support the prolific import compared to the Hotshots where Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee and Rome Dela Rosa got into double-figures to aid Romeo Travis.

    Nothing was going right for Ginebra that even Coach Tim Cone who didn’t like most of the officials’ calls was slapped with 2 technical fouls for entering the court and excessive complaining.

    The Gins immediately felt the absence of their coach as Hotshots’ lead ballooned to a dozen and they can’t give any answer to the latter’s surge.

    Justin Brownlee had gone cold out all-of-a-sudden as the scorer import forgot how to score with Rome Dela Rosa tightly guarding him.

    Finally, Brownlee got away from the sticky shadows of Dela Rosa and made an emphatic scoring run together with Tenorio and both were successful in lowering the lead to just 2 with just 24 ticks left.

    Assistant Coach Richard Del Rosario brought his shooters in to to tie or win the game. His wards got the nice looks but missed the attempts and finally surrendered to Magnolia 101-97 at the buzzer.

    With the win and 2-0 series advantage, the Hotshots just need 1 more win to occupy the first finals seat. They can finish Ginebra off on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

    — Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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