ANTIPOLO — Magnolia needed every ounce of production it can get from anybody in what was a grueling schedule for them this week.
On Friday, they got exactly just that from Rome dela Rosa.
The defensive stalwart provided a timely shot in the arm for an admittedly gassed Hotshots side, scoring 17 points on an efficient 8-for-10 clip in the team’s 97-87 win over lowly Blackwater at the Ynares Center in Rizal.
Dela Rosa poured nine of those in a pivotal second quarter swing that helped Magnolia separate themselves from the Elite with a 49-41 lead at the half.
“It was a must-win, I just had to be aggressive. Offensively I had to be aggressive against those guys and make whoever’s defending me work. It was a must-win for us, with the positioning for the playoffs,” dela Rosa shared.
He wasn’t alone in the winning cause, though.
Dela Rosa was flanked by four other players who scored in double digits as Ian Sangalang (16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one block), Paul Lee (16 points, nine rebounds and four assists), Rafi Reavis (11 points, nine boards) and Mark Barroca (11 points, five assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block) all conspired to push Magnolia to above .500 for the first time this conference.
“I’m happy that everyone’s contributing. I know everyone’s capable naman eh. As long as you’re given the time whether its on offense or on defense they’re able to contribute to the team,” he said.
“Just happy for everyone. The coaches are doing well, making sure everyone is in the right spots.”
The win capped off a tough week that saw them win two of their three games in five days.
“That was tough. We’re just fighting it off. No excuses. That’s the schedule given to us after last season so we just have to work and give our maximum effort,” dela Rosa shared.
Magnolia will be getting a much-deserved break, with their next and final game of the eliminations set two weeks from now.
But even with a lengthy layoff on their hands, dela Rosa noted that the team will stil want to stay sharp against NLEX, who are also in the thick of the playoff race in the standings.
“It’s a well-needed rest, first of all, after this month,” said dela Rosa. Right now we’ll just take the rest but mentally we have to prepare for NLEX so we have to be on our minds. We wanna come out and win that game.”