MANILA, Philippines — Magnolia stretched its winning streak to six games after whipping Blackwater, 95-80, in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
The Hotshots raced to a 32-14 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, leading by as many as 21 points.
“Today, we gave emphasis on having the proper mindset. I told them we have to respect the game,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero after his squad finished with a 7-4 record to end the elimination round. “We want to go hard every game and win every game. That’s our mentality.”
“Going into the playoffs, whoever we end up facing, we’re gonna prepare hard. Three weeks ago, we weren’t in this situation.”
Magnolia started the season at 1-4 and looked headed for an early exit in the bubble.
But everything clicked when the Hotshots played and beat Barangay Ginebra, 102-92, last October 25, a victory that turned their fortunes around.
Ian Sangalang led Magnolia against Blackwater with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Chris Banchero added 14 points and six assists.
Rookie Aris Dionisio, the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, played his best game yet with 12 points and four rebounds while Paul Lee, one of the biggest reasons for Magnolia’s resurgence, had a quiet night with 10 points and four assists.
“Very happy and very proud of Aris. Today, he showed his true game. The reason why we took him [n the draft] was because we knew he had the talent,” Victolero said.
The Elite dropped their eighth consecutive game to finish the season with a 2-9 card.