The Magnolia Hotshots are finally on the board. After three winless tries, they nab their first win against the Meralco Bolts, 92-86. The Hotshots stay in the 12th spot at 1-3 while the Bolts are slightly ahead at 10th with 2-5.
Jio Jalalon played a crucial role in the Hotshots’ first win of the new season. He put on a show in his hometown of Cagayan De Oro to lead Magnolia in scoring. He was a whirling dervish that put up 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He got a lot of help from Gilas boys Paul Lee and Mark Barroca. Lee came off the bench and added 15 points and six rebounds. Barroca had 11 points and four assists. Chris Newsome led Meralco with 22 points and seven assists.
More than Jalalon’s total, it was the timing of his scoring that changed the complexion of the game. The Hotshots were locked in an all-out battle against the Bolts. Neither team could gain any real separation from the other in the first three periods. The trend continued early in the fourth period.
The Hotshots were trailing by four points when Jalalon led an 11-0 run. He scored eight points during that crucial stretch to push Magnolia to the lead. He opened the run with a short jumper. Mark Barroca followed with a jumper in the next possession as Magnolia took a slim lead. After a few defensive stops, Jalalon continued the run with a three-pointer and capped off the run with another booming triple.
The Hotshots led by seven heading into the final minutes of the game. The Bolts would get as close as three in the final moments of the game but Lee and Ian Sanggalang scored key points to keep Magnolia ahead.
Photo from PBA.ph