Magnolia Hotshots 100 – Alaska Aces 84 (Magnolia leads 1-0)
The Magnolia Hotshots didn’t show any signs of rust from the long layoff. They built a big lead early in the game and relied on a key run in the fourth quarter to win Game 1 and take the lead in the series. Romeo Travis was a steady presence all game long. He led all scorers with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Mark Barroca was a demon on both ends. He backed up Travis with 16 points and led both teams with six steals.
The Hotshots started the game on a 15-0 run behind Travis and Robbie Herndon. Herndon nailed back-to-back threes sandwiched by buckets from Travis to build the bulk of that hot start. Barroca and Jio Jalalon also added big hoops in Magnolia’s hot start. Alaska managed to get rolling late in the quarter but were still down by double-digits heading into the second period.
Magnolia continued to pour in the points in the second quarter. Jalalon and PJ Simon led the charge midway through the quarter. The two scored nine points in a 13-2 run. That formed the foundation of an 18-point cushion that softened the blow of Alaska’s charge to end the first half.
The Hotshots looked like they were going to pull away for good in the third period. The synergy between Travis, Barroca, Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton and Paul Lee was evident as all five got on the board. Travis sparked the run with a jumper and Sangalang and Melton quickly followed suit with buckets of their own. Barroca added a floater while Melton nailed a three-pointer to add to the run. Travis capped the run with a layup to complete the 19-5 blast and take a 21-point lead late in the quarter.
Alaska threatened once more midway through the fourth quarter. But Barroca put the game away with a flurry of points, steals and assists. After the Aces cut the deficit down to just eight points, Barroca quickly answered back with a layup. He stole the ball in the next possession and nailed a triple to rebuild a 13-point lead. Barroca stole the ball again and dished to Lee for a layup. He closed the run and put the game away with a floater to rebuild a 17-point lead. That took the fight completely out of the Aces.