PBA Governors' Cup Finals: Magnolia escapes Alaska, takes 3-2 series lead

MANILA, Philippines – What a nail-biting game! Paul Lee’s on-time game-winning jumper rewarded the Magnolia Hotshots a much needed win and above all, a 3-2 series advantage after edging the Alaska Aces, 79-78 on Friday, December 14, 2018 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Paul Lee proved why he’s the Best Player of the Conference
Paul Lee proved why he’s the Best Player of the Conference by hitting a game-winning jumper for Magnolia and 3-2 series lead over Alaska | Photo Credit: pba.ph

With both squads playing a virtual best-of-three finals after Alaska tied the series at 2 apiece last Wednesday, the winner of Game 5 will surely be having the unsurmountable confidence in the next game. Because of this, the protagonists were all out as early as the tip off.

The game was too close to call and the players were too intense defensively that resulted to a number of deadlocks and lead changes midway of the opener.

The reinforcements of both squads put on a show as the locals led by series arch nemesis Mark Barroca and Chris Banchero assisted them in the offensive department. Magnolia however, had a very slight edge after the 1st period, 29-28.

Newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference, Paul Lee, unleashed his scoring prowess in the the 2nd quarter as his team grabbed its first double-digit lead of the game.

Physicality had been part of the series even from the start of this finals. Players kept on hitting the deck that even college teammates Rome Dela Rosa and Jake Pascual traded bodies to fight for positions and ball possessions.

Hotshots’ secret in this game and the reason why they were ahead by a significant number was containing the Best Import of the Conference, “Monster” Mike Harris. The Aces did the same to Romeo Travis but they failed to neutralize the Magnolia locals.

Ian Sangalang for an instance. The former San Sebastian Stag got into double-digits in the 2nd period and outscored the entire Hotshots who only scored 6 points in more than 11 minutes in the same quarter.

53-40 was the score at the half in favor of the Magnolia Hotshots.

The halftime powwow made a huge difference for the Aces as they rallied and cut the lead down to just 5 in just 2 minutes after the 3rd quarter commenced.

Mike Harris finally broke out of his shell and initiated Alaska’s 13-2 scoring run. In contrast, his counterpart, Romeo Travis, had a very bad night with just 4 markers in 30 minutes of basketball.

Together with Harris, Kevin Racal was simply exceptional in the third. In fact, his long trey erased the 17-point humongous Magnolia lead in the 1st half and gave them the lead after quite some time in this game.

Romeo Travis atoned his subpar performance during the dying minutes of the third as he brought the lead back to his team’s side, 65-62.

Travis might had an off night but his guards Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon stepped up big time to increased their chances of winning game number 5. Jalalon didn’t only pinned Alaska down in terms of scoring. The 5’9” court general even beat everyone in the rebounding department.

Just as the Hotshots gained their momentum, the Aces out of nowhere surprised them with a series of buckets and found themselves ahead of their rivals once again.

The last few seconds of the game was crazy where Alaska was up by just 2. A handful shot attempts were made by both teams but missed them all until Paul Lee found the wide opened Ian Sangalang for a deuce and one.

Alaska had 18 seconds left and down by just a point. Mike Harris got fouled by rafi Reavis and fortunately sank both of his foul shots for the lead.

11 ticks was spared for Magnolia to win the game or go home. Paul Lee orchestrated the play and found the cutting Romeo Travis at baseline but his import missed the shot. The ball luckily fell into the hands of Lee who sank the jumper for the 79-78 victory.

The Magnolia Hotshots can finish off the Alaska Aces on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 for Game 6 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Scores

Magnolia 79 – Sangalang 20, Barroca 14, Jalalon 13, Lee 11, Travis 10, Herndon 6, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 1, Melton 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.

Alaska 78 – Harris 28, Enciso 13, Racal 13, Pascual 6, Exciminiano 5, Cruz 4, Banchero 3, Casio 2, Teng 2, Manuel 2, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0.

Quarters: 29-28, 53-40, 65-62, 79-78.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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