Jalalon brings Magnolia to Philippine Cup semifinals

JIO JALALON showed nerves of steel in overtime as Magnolia withstood NLEX’s rally for a 112-106 victory and advance to the best-of-seven semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In a do-or-die quarterfinal game, Jalalon stood tall by scattering seven of his 16 points in the extra five minutes. He also had seven rebounds, six assists and two steals to carry the Hotshots to the semifinals against defending champion TNT Tropang Giga.

Jalalon led Magnolia’s 10-3 run to start the overtime period and gave the Hotshots a 108-100 cushion with 1:18 left.

NLEX’s Don Trollano buried back-to-back treys to narrow the gap to just 106-108 with a minute remaining, but that was the closest the Road Warriors could get to.

After Calvin Abueva’s two charities that put the Hotshots up 110-106 with 42 seconds left, the Road Warriors couldn’t hit a basket as Trollano muffed two triples.

Mark Andy Barroca sealed Magnolia’s victory with two free throws with five seconds left.

“Thank you Lord,” Jalalon said during the post-game news conference. “I asked the coaches that I really want to play. I’m so thankful they gave me a chance.”

“I’m thankful to Paul Lee for hitting that three to force the overtime,” he added.

Ian Sangalang racked up 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Veteran Paul Lee fired 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from downtown that included the game-tying triple with 12 seconds left in the regulation, knotting the count to 97-all. Both teams succumbed to defense that forced the extra period.        

“I would like to apologize to Jio [Jalalon]. I almost forgot him in the last quarter. So when I put him in he told me ‘I told you coach’. I know he really wanted to win and he carried us there. I’m proud of them,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.  

Barroca added 14 points while Abueva tallied 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Rome de la Rosa made 12 points also for the Hotshots.

NLEX led 97-94 in the final minute of the regulation but couldn’t protect the lead.

Calvin Oftana registered 32 points and nine rebounds to lead the Road Warriors, while Trollano had nine of his 22 points in overtime.

NLEX forced a sudden-death Game 3 in the best-of-three quarterfinals with a 90-77 win in Game 2 after losing Game 1, 98-89.