By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Magnolia Hotshots Chicken Timplados successfully protected its twice-to-beat quarterfinal advantage and dumped the TNT Tropang Giga, 109-94, to advance to the semifinal round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs last January 17, 2024, held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Magnolia survived an early offensive onslaught from TNT after trailing for most of the first half before turning things around in the final four minutes of the second quarter.
The Chicken Timplados trailed by as much as nine points in the first half but after Tyler Bey, Calvin Abueva, Jio Jalalon, and Mark Barroca connived for a much-needed scoring outburst, Magnolia all of a sudden took over the driver’s seat and closed the half with a 50-44 lead.
Magnolia looked to be in control in the first six minutes of the third quarter after holding on to their six-point lead but the Tropang Giga answered back with several three-point bombs courtesy of RR Pogoy to retake the advantage, 68-69.
The nip-and-tuck affair continued for the remainder of the third frame but Magnolia once again used a strong closing quarter to protect their lead, 77-69.
However, in the fourth quarter, the Tropang Giga seemed to lose gas and failed to keep up with Magnolia’s high-octane offensive action.
The duo of Ian Sangalang and Bey did damage in the opening possessions of the fourth that helped extend Magnolia’s lead back to double digits.
TNT rallied back and scored a couple of baskets but Magnolia’s stellar composure and consistency propelled them to a dominating performance in the final 12 minutes of the quarterfinal game.
Bey wrapped up the quarterfinal clash with a convincing all-around performance of 41 points built from a perfect 16/16 shooting from the free-throw line, 13 rebounds, five steals, three blocks, and two assists.
Backstopping Bey’s monster outing was Barroca who contributed 17 markers while Abueva and Sangalang each chipped in 12 points.
“Hopefully this time, we can go all the way. But it is very hard. We need to prepare hard for the next series. Wala pa kaming naa-achieve dito,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero after the win.