THE Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok try to bury the Meralco Bolts further in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series when they go for another win in Game Two on Wednesday. — PBA IMAGES

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

THE Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots try to bury the Meralco Bolts further in their best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup semifinal series when they go for another win in Game Two on Wednesday in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Set to collide at 6 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym, the Hotshots try to build on their 88-79 victory in the series-opener on Sunday and move a step closer to the finals of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association tournament.

Big man Ian Sangalang led the way for Magnolia in the Game One win, finishing with 18 points.

It was a grind-it-out contest for Magnolia and Meralco throughout, with both teams making runs and counter-runs and having it rough and chippy in some moments.

Best player of the game Mr. Sangalang also had eight rebounds and five blocks in the victory, with Pau Lee adding 17 points.

Calvin Abueva, foul-plagued for much of the game, had 13 points and seven rebounds while Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca had 12 and 11 points, respectively.

For Meralco, it was Bong Quinto who top-scored with 14 points, followed by Mac Belo and Anjo Caram with 11 points apiece.

“It’s a tough series and we have to play one game at a time, one preparation at a time,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero following their Game One win, sharing the kind of mindset they have.

Also looking to go up 2-0 on Wednesday are the TnT Tropang Giga who lead the San Miguel Beermen in the other semifinal bracket.

TnT survived a ferocious charge-back by San Miguel late in Game One to go up a game in their own best-of-seven joust.

Roger Pogoy led the Tropang Giga in Game One, finishing with 23 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals to win player of the game honors.

Jayson Castro had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists while JP Erram and Troy Rosario added 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Leading scorer Mikey Williams only had seven points, but had eight rebounds and six assists.

For San Miguel, it was Mr. Perez who top-scored with 23 points, followed by June Mar Fajardo with 13 and Arwind Santos 12 points.

Game Two of the TnT-San Miguel series is set for 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, Magnolia’s Mr. Abueva was hailed PBA best player of the week for the period of Sept. 29 to Oct. 3.

The 33-year-old forward averaged 16.5 points and 13.0 rebounds, while shooting 52% from the floor, in two games during that stretch where he helped the Hotshots eliminate the Rain or Shine Elastopainters in Game Two of their best-of-three quarterfinals on Sept. 30 and win the semifinal series-opener over Meralco on Sunday.

“Calvin adds toughness [to our team]. Our system fits him well. That’s why when we got him, he adjusted fast because that’s how plays,” said Magnolia coach Mr. Victolero of their offseason acquisition Mr. Abueva.

Also in the running for best player of the week were Mr. Abueva’s Magnolia teammates Lee and Sangalang, and the TnT Tropang Giga’s Pogoy, Rosario, and Castro.