Photo from PBA

Magnolia Pambansang Manok ended its Christmas Day misery against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a big way after cruising to a 117-94 win to remain as the only unbeaten team in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots trailed only once during the early part of the game, then put on a dominating display that saw them lead by a high of 31 points before snapping a three-game skid against the Gin Kings on the merriest occasion of any year.

It also extended Magnolia’s streak over Ginebra in their “Manila Clasico” rivalry to three consecutive games dating back to last year’s Philippine Cup bubble and move on top of the standings with a 3-0 record.

“We established the defense early, and then we limit their second chance points. That’s one of the key factors in this game,” said coach Chito Victolero.

“And then, we just want to be aggressive and control the pace of the game, and you know, we’re properly motivated, because it’s Christmas Day also,” added Victolero.

A damper, however, in the result was the injury of Paul Lee, who slipped while surveying the situation on defense during the fourth quarter. Victolero said afterwards that he is unsure about Lee’s condition.

Import Mike Harris produced 29 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to lead the Magnolia attack while Lee added 20 points, four rebounds and three assists.

But there were plenty of heroes in the Hotshots’ win, namely Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Rome dela Rosa.

Justin Brownlee made 21 points and 12 rebounds while the rest of the starters — Arvin Tolentino, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Christian Standhardinger — scored in double figures but Ginebra fell to 3-1.

Ginebra’s bench was outscored 40-20 by Magnolia, which started pulling away in the second quarter with a 44-28 lead on Ahanmisi’s three, 7:58 left.

Magnolia would go into halftime ahead 61-42 and in good spirits with franchise legends Marc Pingris and PJ Simon having their numbers retired in a ceremony before the restart.

The long lull didn’t prevent Magnolia from staying sharp the rest of the way.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 117 — Harris 29, Lee 20, Abueva 13, Jalalon 12, Barroca 11, Ahanmisi 10, Sangalang 9, Dela Rosa 8, Dionisio 5, Corpuz 0.

GINEBRA 94 — Brownlee 21, Tolentino 15, Aguilar 14, Standhardinger 13, J. Tenorio 11, Salado 7, Thompson 6, Onwubere 6, Enriquez 1, Caperal 0, Chan 0.

Quarters: 29-20, 61-42, 93-67, 117-94.

Source: Manila Bulletin (