PBA: Magnolia banks on second-half wizardry to turn back Phoenix

Mark Barroca shoots a floater over Phoenix’s Jason Perkins (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Magnolia Hotshots Chicken Timplados needed an efficient second-half performance to deny the Phoenix Fuel Masters a win, 107-93, in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup Conference on April 14, 2024, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

After the Chicken Timplados blew the game wide-open in the opening quarter when they built a double-digit lead, the Fuel Masters countered back with a massive 39-19 second-quarter scoring performance to snatch away the momentum and establish a 10-point advantage heading into the half.

Just when the Fuel Masters thought they could replicate their pace in the third, the Chicken Timplados flipped the switch and sucked the life out of Phoenix when they owned them in the last two frames, outperforming them, 32-20, 28-16.

Magnolia just caught fire when the third canto kicked off and matched their scoring efficiency with their much-improved perimeter defense.

After Phoenix scored at them at will in the second quarter, Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero emphasized more help defensive schemes at the post that shut down the Fuel Masters’ ability to generate their plays down the block.

As their defensive patience developed midway through the third quarter, their offense just started to fall in place and was carried until the final 12 minutes of action.

“They responded to the challenge. I think doon nagsimula ang magandang opensa namin in the second half,” said Magnolia head coach Mr. Victolero.

Leading the way for the Chicken Timplados is veteran floor general Mark Barroca who delivered 27 big points alongside four assists.

Fresh off his game-winning step-back jumper against the NorthPort Batang Pier last week, the seasoned PBA guard continued his assault and was a huge problem for Phoenix in the second half.

Backstopping Barroca was star center Ian Sangalang who dropped a near triple-double performance of 23 markers, nine rebounds, and five dimes.

The Chicken Timplados will look to aim for their third consecutive victory on April 20, 2024, as they challenge the Rain or Shine Elastopainters.