Magnolia Pambansang Manok came out energetic and active from an 18-day breather and smothered a rusty Alaska Milk side, 100-84, in the opener of the PBA Governors Cup Finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Wednesday night.
The Hotshots started the game with a 15-to-nothing run and led all the way to the finish against the Alaska squad that struggled to find shooting touch and rhythm.
The Hotshots clicked all night, starting strong and showing a great sustaining power in a dominant performance in Game One of the best-of-seven title playoff.
Game Two is at 7 p.m. Friday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Practically all the players fielded in by coach Chito Victolero responded to the call, led by Romeo Travis, Rafi Reavis, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Rob Herndon who got the team to a rousing start.
Then there were Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton who made impact coming off the bench.
Travis collected 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists and drew tremendous applause from the Magnolia fans as he headed to the bench with over two minutes left in the game.
Mike Harris was off, struggling for only 20 markers on 7-of-15 shooting.
Barroca fired away 16 points, Lee rifled in 14 while Jalalon sizzled with 12 rebounds, nine assists and seven markers.
The Aces were also visibly off on the defensive end, with their vaunted press hardly rattling the Hotshots.
So dominant were the Hotshots that they led by as many as 21 in what was expected to be a tight match that they turned to a lopsided duel.
From an early big deficit, the Aces twice narrowed the gap to a manageable level, the last at 76-84 with 4:23 left to play. The Hotshots, however, stayed intact.
From the 84-76 count, the Hotshots responded with a decisive 9-0 tear from guards Barroca, Lee and Jalalon, and Magnolia breezed through in the end.
Alaska went 0-of-6 from the field and 0-2 from the stripe, and committed five turnovers before Kevin Racal scored the team's first bucket from the line already six minutes into the game.
The Aces then fell behind by as many as 18 before trimming the deficit to 12 at 40-52 at the half.
The Hotshots dominated the opening half with a 22-of-36 shooting as against the Aces' 14-of-38 clip. (SB)