By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Magnolia Chicken Timplados quickly entered the winning column of the PBA 48th season after taking down the TNT Tropang Giga, 110-102, last November 5, 2023, held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Despite a long hiatus after the PBA lent its playing calendar to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), both squads shrugged off court rust and played a high-octane brand of basketball.
After a slow start, both squads picked their pace up in the second quarter but it was Magnolia import Tyler Bey who stood out the most.
Known to be a two-way player during his college years, Bey displayed his deep offensive bag and led the Chicken Timplados with a dominant double-double performance of 31 points and 20 rebounds.
Bey set the tone for Magnolia after anchoring their defense in the first half which helped them control the tempo of the game.
Despite TNT’s scoring barrage, the Chicken Timplados always had answers and got plenty of offensive spark from Mark Barroca and Paul Lee.
Magnolia’s solid efficiency on both ends of the floor racked their advantage to 19 points heading into the final frame.
However, TNT would not be denied as they managed to trim their deficit to just six points, 106-100, which made the game interesting in the last 1:24.
Unfortunately, the Tropang Giga went cold and only converted a deuce despite having several offensive attempts.
Bey then iced the game with a slam dunk and lived up to the expectations of the Magnolia franchise that is yet to win another PBA title.
Barroca finished their PBA opening game day schedule with 19 points while Lee added 17 markers, five assists, and two rebounds.