GAME TWO of the best-of-five Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup semifinal series between the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings takes place today with the former eyeing a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Successfully fended off their rivals in the series-opener, the Hotshots looks to sustain their solid form when they meet the Kings anew in a key “Manila Clasico” match set for 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A win by Magnolia pushes it ever so close to a second PBA finals appearance this season.
In Game One where they won, 106-98, the Hotshots were led by import Romeo Travis who finished with a conference-high of 37 points to go along with 16 rebounds and five assists.
Guard Paul Lee backstopped him with 27 points as they bucked being down early in the contest to turn things around and book the win.
Justin Brownlee finished with a near triple-double of 37 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists for Barangay Ginebra while Japeth Aguilar added 18 points.
“Winning Game One is not an assurance that we are going to make it to the finals. We have to win three games to reach there. Nonetheless we gladly take this win,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero following Game One as he set things in perspective for them.
The winner of the Magnolia-Barangay Ginebra semifinals will take on the victor of that between the Alaska Aces and Meralco Bolts, which were to start their own best-of-five series on Sunday, in the best-of-seven finals. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo