Magnolia Pambansang Manok heads to the PBA Lenten breather with its final hopes very much alive.
The Hotshots got untracked behind a big finishing kick Tuesday night leading to an important 85-74 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game Three of their PBA Philippine Cup Final Four at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Scoreless in the first half, Ian Sangalang came alive in the payoff period and proved to be the game-changer as the Hotshots foiled the E-Painters bid to zoom to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Coach Chito Victolero and his troops will have a chance to equalize as the Hotshots and the E-Painters resume their semis showdown Monday also at the Big Dome.
"Naniniwala kami isang game lang ang makuha namin dadating ang punto na makakabalik kami," said Sangalang, optimistic they're back in business.
Sangalang personally got the Hotshots back on track as he scored 12 of his 16 points in the last 10 minutes of the game, including six in their back-breaking 8-0 closing binge.
"I just stayed positive. Nag-respond ako sa mga teammates ko na patuloy na naniwala sa akin. Thankful ako especially kay Kuya Ping (Marc Pingris) na talagang tinulak ako at nagbigay ng guidance," said Sangalang on his fourth-quarter explosion.
Trailing most of the way, the Hotshots surged ahead to stay at 76-71 on back-to-back twinners by Sangalang and a booming three-pointer by Justin Melton.
Then the Hotshots were protecting a shaky lead at 76-74 when Sangalang strung up his last six markers - two baskets from the perimeter area plus two charities.
And thus the Hotshots avoided plunging to a deep 0-3 hole.
Sangalang finished with a double-double as he also collected 11 rebounds.
Paul Lee also finished with 16 markers while Rafi Reavis, Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca were three other Hotshots who pulled down at least 10 caroms.
Rookie Javee Mocon paced the losing side with 18 points and nine rebounds.
The two teams traded big salvos in the second quarter with Magnolia starting the period with a 12-to-nothing run then ROS unleashing its own attack from 17-27 down to lead by seven at 42-35 at the turn.
Beau Belga and Mocon fired two three-pointers each to spike their quick second-quarter turnaround. Belga knocked in his second trey shortly before the buzzer to end the first 24 minutes of play.
And the E-Painters continued to set the pace until the Hotshots lit up their crucial endgame attack. (SB)
Magnolia 85 - Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Melton 9, Jalalon 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 7, Barroca 6, Reavis 6, Brondial 5, Simon 3, Ramos 2.
Rain or Shine 74 - Mocon 18, Belga 12, Torres 10, Daquioag 7, Yap 6, Nambatac 6, Norwood 6, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Ponferada 2.
Quarterscores: 15-17, 35-42, 57-63, 85-74.