PBA Saturday: ‘Angas ng Tondo’ spices up Manila Clasico

PBA-Lee

One down, two to go.

The Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok drew first blood against the crowd darlings Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in their best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series.

Here are some takeaways from the team’s 106-98 triumph in Antipolo last night.

Lee-thal weapon + Lethal lefty

With vengeance in their minds after suffering a deflating defeat against Ginebra in the eliminations, the Hotshots took control of Game 1 through the deadly inside-outside brilliance of Romeo Travis and Paul Lee.

The explosive tag team accounted for more than half of Magnolia’s scoring total and was responsible for big time plays in the tightly contested final canto.

Travis finished with a game-best 37 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists while also playing suffocating defense to Ginebra’s assortment of talented bigs.

Lee, on the other hand, was as clutch as ever, extinguishing all of Ginebra’s attempts for a game-breaking run.

His biggest basket came with 56 seconds left in regulation as he completed a three-point play to put the game out of reach. He finished with 27 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals.

Justin Melton also pitched in 11 points — all coming in the first half.

Disrupting the passing lanes

PBA-Magnolia

The Hotshots deflected a lot of their opponents’ possessions in the eliminations for a league-best 10.67 steals per contest.

With plenty of shifty guards at their disposal, Magnolia clamped on Ginebra’s passing lanes for 48 minutes and completed 13 steals that resulted into 29 easy points from turnovers.

Lee and Melton pickpocketed their way to four steals apiece.

Aside from dealing with Magnolia’s pesky defenders, Ginebra also suffered from multiple unforced errors and turned the ball over 22 times.

Scottie Thompson bore blunt of the blame with his seven miscues.

Extra possessions did the trick

PBA-Magnolia vs. Ginebra

Another glaring statistic from last night’s match was the discrepancy in total shots attempted between the two sister teams.

Magnolia (43-93 from the field) had 13 more shot opportunities than Ginebra, who only took 80 attempts as a team.

The Hotshots corralled 16 offensive rebounds, with seven of those coming from Travis.

Who will take the load off Brownlee?

PBA-Brownlee

Justin Brownlee had to work for all of his 37 markers last night, and it appears that will serve as a precedent for the entire series.

After going ballistic and scoring 20 points in the first 12 minutes, coach Chito Victolero made the proper adjustments and kept the explosive import scoreless in the second frame.

Japeth Aguilar contributed 18 points and six boards, but his fellow twin tower Greg Slaughter could only muster eight points on 2-for-7 shooting.

L.A. Tenorio and Sol Mercado combined to shoot 1-for-9 from three-point country, while the team’s premiere sniper Jeff Chan only took one attempt from distance the entire game.

Game 2 shifts back to the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday, November 12.

(Images from PBA Media Group)

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