Photo from PBA

Magnolia Pambansang Manok primed itself for its Christmas Day showdown with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel after a 109-98 victory over Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import Mike Harris, Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang produced usual numbers but they also got plenty of help from the bench led by Jio Jalalon, who put up 14 points, six rebounds and 10 assists in the convincing win.

The Hotshots improved to a 2-0 record in the season-ending conference as they now shift focus on facing Ginebra before a live crowd for the first time since the pandemic.

Ginebra was facing Phoenix Super LPG at presstime looking to stretch its own unbeaten start to three games.

Coach Chito Victolero is glad that his team was able to keep its form at the expense of Rain or Shine, which Magnolia beat in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals via a sweep of the best-of-three series.

“I told my players before this game na, we need to have that mental toughness because we know na this is a very physical game,” said Victolero. Alam naman namin ‘yung Rain or Shine, last bubble we faced them in the quarterfinals, and we had a hard time, and now also.

“Ang maganda lang dun is we continued to play defense, and we continue to execute on our offense. On both ends of the floor, we execute,” he added.

Not even a big lead in the second half prevented the Hotshots from staying sharp as Jalalon, Maverick Ahanmisi and Aris Dionisio produced on both ends to lead by a high of 18 points.

The Hotshots also took care of the ball well, turning the ball over just five times.

Harris had 26 points and six rebounds, Abueva dazzled the audience with his energetic plays to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds while Sangalang had 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

Rey Nambatac and import Henry Walker scored 23 points apiece but the Elasto Painters continued their zigzag start in the conference by going down to 2-2.

Rain or Shine led 31-27 on Walker’s basket in the first quarter but Magnolia ended the period on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good.

The Scores:

MAGNOLIA 109 — Harris 26, Abueva 18, Jalalon 14, Sangalang 11, Dela Rosa 9, Ahanmisi 8, Corpuz 8, Barroca 6, Dionisio 5, Lee 4, Brill 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 98 — Walker 23, Nambatac 23, Mocon 20, Belga 14, Torres 4, Borboran 4, Norwood 3, Jackson 3, Caracut 2, Ponferada 2, Asistio 0, Wong 0, Santillan 0.

Quarters: 34-31, 55-48, 86-73, 109-98.

Source: Manila Bulletin (