Aug 12, 2022

Barroca provides spark as Hotshots repulse TNT, live to fight another day

MARK Barroca provided the spark and the rest of Magnolia followed, resulting in a 107-95 win over TNT Friday that extended their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After scoring just five points the last time out Barroca sizzled for 25 this time, 16 of those coming in the first half that set the tone for the Hotshots and gave them momentum to lead by as many as 16 points three times.

Barroca deflected some of the credit to his teammates. "Maging aggressive lang din ako, maging smart sa game, pero di lang naman ako," he said.

"Kasi nga kailangan ko rin mga kasama ko. Dapat lahat kami aggressive dahil down kami, kailangan naming kumuha ng momentum start pa lang ng game."

As expected, the Tropang Giga mounted a spirited fightback that pulled them within three going to the last four minutes of the game. But it was also Barroca's near-triple that started Magnolia's 10-5 windup that ultimately resulted a narrower 2-3 deficit in the best-of-seven duel.

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TNT could still close out the series on Sunday, but the fact his team's conference goes on was enough to please Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

"Just credit to all the players. Backs against the wall, do-or-die, but our mental toughness nandoon," said Victolero after citing his Hotshots' defense, especially going into the last two minutes of the game.

"Talagang trinabaho namin ito from our preparations yesterday until today," added Victolero. "We lived another day so wala kaming dapat i-celebrate because down pa rin kami sa series."

Also typifying that resolve were Calvin Abueva, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Ian Sangalang (16 and seven) and Paul Lee (16 and six).

Even Rome dela Rosa and Adrian Wong contributed in a big way, holding Mikey Williams to just 13 points on 5-for-16 field shooting. TNT 's main offensive weapon did have six assists but committed four turnovers.

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With Williams stymied, it was Jayson Castro who stepped up the most for the Tropa with 18 points. Troy Rosario chipped in 17 and Poy Erram finished with 16 points and nine boards while Glenn Khobutin heated up late with eight of his 12 points coming in the fourth period.

All those were still not enough to bail TNT out of the deep hole Magnolia put it right in the first half when the Hotshots raced to their first 16-point spread at 51-35. (NC)

The Scores:

Magnolia 105 - Barroca 25, Abueva 16, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Jalalon 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 3, Reavis 2, Escoto 2, Wong 0.

TNT 97 - Castro 18, Rosario 17, Erram 16, M.Williams 13, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 12, K.Williams 6, Montalbo 2, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser.

Quarters: 28-26, 59-45, 81-73, 105-97