ANTIPOLO -- Magnolia Pambansang Manok completed a twinkill in three nights versus NorthPort and Blackwater, and thus moved up to solo sixth place in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Center here Friday night.
A major overhaul may well be undertaken by the team management to improve their lineup or the chemistry of the Blackwater roster before the mid-season Governors Cup.
The Hotshots scored a 97-87 drubbing of the Elite in a follow-up to their 103-90 thumping of the Batang Pier Wednesday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rome dela Rosa, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Rodney Brondial, Rafi Reavis and Mark Barroca all put in double-digit outputs as the Hotshots sustained their charge and assured themselves of at least a playoff for the eighth and last quarterfinals spot with a fifth win in 10 outings.
They return into action versus the NLEX Road Warriors on April 3, gunning for a victory that may guarantee them not just of playoff passage but a spot in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
With the loss, Blackwater, meanwhile, closed out its 2019 all-Filipino tourney with merely two wins against nine losses.
Blackwater coach Bong Ramos has said they're ready for any eventuality.
The Elite tried hard to end the tourney on a winning note, but they just couldn't shake up the Hotshots who played with a sustained energy from their come-from-behind win over the Batang Pier the last time out.
Magnolia bucked the tough challenge of Blackwater and thus broke off a logjam with the Alaska Milk Aces (4-5) and the NLEX Road Warriors (4-5) at sixth place.
Long out of the race for the Top Two, the Hotshots hope to stay in the Top Six to avoid a quarterfinals matchup against a team with a win-once advantage.
Dela Rosa top scored with 17 points, Sangalang had a double-double game with 16 markers and 10 rebounds and Brondial had his own rare D-D job with 10 buckets and the same number of rebounds.
Lee narrowly missed a double-double with 16 markers and nine rebounds while Reavis and Barroca contributed 11 points each in the well-balanced Magnolia game. (SB)
Magnolia 97 - Dela Rosa 17, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Reavis 11, Barroca 11, Brondial 10, Melton 9, Jalalon 4, Ramos 3, Simon 0, Gamalinda 0, Pascual 0, Abundo 0.
Blackwater 87 - Maliksi 16, Belo 16, Dario 11, Eriobu 10, Al-Hussaini 9, Tratter 8, Banal 7, Digregorio 4, Sena 3, Desiderio 3, Sumang 0, Javier 0.
Quarters: 20-20, 49-41, 68-61, 97-87