Amid concerns following the PBA bubble’s first player-related COVID-19 positive case, which was confirmed just hours prior to the game, the Magnolia Hotshots claimed the latest ‘Manila Clasico,’ 102-92.
The win was true to 2020’s strange form as the Hotshots entered the contest holding a rough 1-4 record in the conference, while the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were a perfect 4-0, three of which were blowouts. With the victory, Magnolia also snapped a four-game losing streak in the famed rivalry game.
Ginebra seemingly shut down after appearing to pull away late in the third quarter. They led, 75-65, with 3:14 left in the period, and probably decided that it was enough. The defense allowed Paul Lee – of all people – to gain some steam and it just snowballed from there.
Sensing the Ginebra’s drop in energy, Magnolia aggressively pushed the pace, went on an 11-2 run before heading to the final quarter, and proceeded to take over. The Hotshots outscored the Gin Kings in the final 15 minutes, 37-17.
Lee hit a long-range dagger three from with under a minute left to seal the deal.
What went wrong for the Ginebra and right for Magnolia?
The difference in outside shooting was one of the main killers. It was a tale of two halves. The Gin Kings were red-hot from beyond the arc in the first half, going a smooth 10-for-20, but unfortunately couldn’t carry the momentum after returning from the break. They only went 3-for-14 from three over the next two quarters.
Magnolia, who maintained taking high-percentage shots was able to take advantage of Ginebra’s shooting woes.
Then, there’s ball protection. Though the Hotshots were aggressive and keen at attacking the rim, they rarely turned the ball over and were methodical. The Gin Kings, on the other hand, were sloppy and kept giving the opposition extra possessions.