DRAGGED into a close, intense game in the first two full quarters, Magnolia Hotshots had no inkling they were in for easy sailing the rest of the game against Kia Picanto yesterday.
With the Picanto unceremoniously losing their touch in the whole third, the Hotshots breezed past to a 124-77 victory before a lean Wednesday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots unloaded a 15-2 blitz at the onset of the third, building a 62-51 lead which the Picanto never came close to overhauling the rest of the way.
Mark Yee stopped the bleeding for Picanto with a drive followed by Ronald Tubid’s triple, but that proved to be the best they could muster in that moment as the Hotshots, now turning hot more than ever, unleashed another scoring salvo – a 16-4 run that gave Magnolia an 81-60 lead at the end of the third.
The lead snowballed to as big as 107-71 with Over seven minutes remaining.
The Hotshots rebounded from an 89-78 loss to sister team Barangay Ginebra last Christmas Day and improved to 2-1, in a tie with Phoenix and NLEX in the provisional standings.
The Picanto absorbed their third straight loss as their woes continued unabated.
The Hotshots led at 32-26 on Sangalang’s two freethrows with 7:44 left in second quarter, but the Picanto fought back to regain the lead at 37-34, from where a see-saw battle ensued. A triple by Khobuntin gave Kia a 49-47 lead at the turn.
The Picanto started the game with a 9-2 run behind baskets from Jackson Corpuz, Reden Celda and Glenn Khobuntin, but that lead did not last long as the Hotshots caught fire too.
Brondial sank two freethrows, Ian Sangalang added a basket and two freethrows, before Justin Melton sank a triple in Magnolia’s counter attack to tie the count at 15-all.
The two teams briefly engaged in a see-saw battle, ending the first 12 minutes of action tied at 22-all.
Magnolia (124) – Melton 23, Sangalang 21, Herndon 14, Lee 13, Simon 11, Jalalon 11, Ramos 7, Gamalinda 6, Pingris 6, Barroca 4, Pascual 4, Dela Rosa 2, Brondial 2.
Kia (77) – Reyes 12, McCarthy 11, Celda 11, Tubid 11, Corpuz 9, Yee 6, Khobuntin 5, Paniamogan 5, Jamon 3, Caperal 2, Sara 2, Camson 0, Ababou 0, Galanza 0.
Quarters: 22-22, 49-47, 81-60, 124-77.