Magnolia overcomes NLEX to win its third straight game

Feb 19, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – In the second part of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup on Thursday, February 16, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Magnolia defeated NLEX 119 to 103 to increase its winning run to three.

Between the third and fourth quarters, the Hotshots went on a furious 16 to 3 run that gave them a double-digit lead that they wouldn’t relinquish until the final buzzer, tying their record at 3 to 3. In that run, Jio Jalalon and immigrant Antonio Hester played key roles.

Hester continued to dominate the paint with a double-double of 37 points and 15 rebounds, while the guard for the Magnolia Spitfires finished with 17 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds, coming one rebound short of a triple-double.

Aris Dionisio and Mark Barroca, two bench players who each scored 13 points, were among the other five players to score in double figures. Paul Lee, who led the way with 18 points on four triples, was one of the two players that received a lot of assistance. Calvin Abueva also helped the team win, chipping in 10 points and 8 rebounds.

The second-half tweaks are crucial to everything. I told them we changed our defense really well, and we performed a great job. We must ramp up the tempo, though, given how quickly NLEX began the game. “We need to boost up our speed,” said Chito Victolero, the head coach of the Hotshots, “and it’s wonderful that the player acquired our rhythm during the second half.”

The Hotshots were really behind at that time in the third round as the Road Warriors established a 66 to 55 lead. Jalalon, Hester, and Dionisio masterminded a ferocious 18 to 5 rally to erase Magnolia’s two-point disadvantage at 73 to 71.

The Hotshots simply kept moving forward after that as they embarked on the pivotal run that gave them the largest lead of the game, 21, 108 to 87.

Wayne Selden Jr., who led the Road Warriors in scoring with 25 points, was clearly concerned by the Magnolia defense throughout the whole game. NLEX lost their second game after going up 4 to 0 thanks to the combined efforts of Kris Rosales and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, who combined for 20 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

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