May 10, 2019

Barroca buzzer-beater sends Hotshots to threshold of all-Filipino crown

Mark Barroca faked off Christian Standhardinger then made one dribble to the basket before draining a 15-footer at the buzzer, then he saw his teammates piling up on him on the floor.

With Barroca's brilliant play to cap a 22-point game, Magnolia Pambansang Manok salvaged an 88-86 win over San Miguel Beer that sent the Hotshots to the threshold of a first PBA Philippine Cup championship in five years.

"Kahit na noong up kami ng 13 points, sabi namin delikado pa rin kami dahil grabeng team ito (San Miguel). Pero nag-stay positive lang kami; hanggang dulo positive kami," said Barroca in their two-point squeaker that gave them the pivotal 3-2 lead in the race-to-four-game series.

It was a classic win in their rollercoaster ride in the game marred by stunt by a streaker -- in a Spiderman costume - entering the last three minutes of the game.

The streaker surprised just about everybody at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and caused a game delay as he slammed into June Mar Fajardo, hurting the 6-foot-10 giant in the process.

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Somehow, the Hotshots lost momentum on the bizarre scene, losing a six-point margin (64-78) but regained their bearing in time, and pulled through just the same on Barroca's game-winning shot.

The Hotshots can wrap up the series in Game Six at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday or Game Seven, if necessary, on Wednesday at the same playing venue.

Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee, Rafi Reavis, Jio Jalalon, Rodney Brondial and Rome dela Rosa were all part of the mix helping Magnolia regain upper hand in the series that has turned to be a war of attrition.

Sangalang came through with a double-double game with 18 points and 14 rebounds, Reavis flirted with a D-D with 10 boards and eight markers while Lee put in 12 points before sitting out crunch time because of a shoulder injury.

The Hotshots imposed themselves as defensive demons in the first half, limiting the Beermen to 36 points on a woeful 11-of-43 clip.

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Reavis and his teammates clamped down on Fajardo whom they held without a field-goal basket in the first 24 minutes of play. Fajardo scored four points all from the stripe.

The Hotshots also did a wondrous job off the boards, outrebounding the Beermen, 33-28, in taking the 13-point lead at the turn.

But the Beermen got into the game on an 11-to-nothing start in the third quarter and enjoyed the lead for the first time at 52-51 on Fajardo's first field-goal basket 30 minutes into the contest.

He poured in 17 of his 21 points in the second and also grabbed 22 rebounds. These numbers went to naught though as they failed to complete a come-from-behind triumph.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 88 - Barroca 22, Sangalang 18, Lee 12, Jalalon 8, Reavis 8, Brondial 8, Dela Rosa 7, Melton 3, Pascual 2, Ramos 0.

SAN MIGUEL 86 - Fajardo 21, Lassiter 20, Santos 18, Romeo 11, Standhardinger 8, Cabagnot 5, Ross 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 27-18, 49-36, 69-63, 88-86.