Magnolia takes Clasico semis headstart behind hot Travis, Lee

Romeo Travis set a new PBA career-high as he led Magnolia to a Game 1 win over Ginebra Saturday. PBA Media Bureau

By Ricky Manliguis

ANTIPOLO -- Magnolia rode on the shoulders of Romeo Travis and Paul Lee as it held the stubborn stand of Barangay Ginebra, 106-98, to take Game 1 of the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup at the Ynares Center Saturday. 

The Pambansang Manok nearly squandered a 14-point lead in the fourth but held on thanks to the second-half explosion of Travis and end-game heroics of Lee enough to take the head-start in the best-of-five series. 

Overcoming a tentative first quarter, Magnolia sizzled in the second, outscoring Ginebra 32-16 for a 63-55 cushion heading into halftime. 

Ginebra then came roaring back from a 86-76 deficit to come within 93-95 on a Japeth Aguilar bucket at the 3:48 mark of the final period. 

Lee went ballistic from there, rifling all of Magnolia's final nine points, capped by a three-point play off Kevin Ferrer with 56 seconds left for a 103-96 lead. 

Travis finished with 37 points, 21 coming in the second half, eclipsing his previous PBA career-high he set in the 2015 Governors' Cup. He also added 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. 

Lee added 27 points with four boards and four steals , while Justin Melton had 11 for Magnolia.

"Ang pinag-usapan mamin dito, we need to win three games in order for us to go to the Finals. Although there's a percentage na nakuha namin (in our favor) hindi pa rin assurance iyan," said winning coach Chito Victolero at post-game. 

“When we started preparing for Ginebra, I told my players that it’s always a grinding game. It’s the ‘Clasico.’ The perseverance to snare Game 1 was evident in the game,” he added. 

Justine Brownlee led Ginebra with 37 points with 20 coming from a blistering first quarter performance while snaring 14 boards and eight assists. Aguilar chipped in 18 markers, while LA Tenorio chipped in 13. 

Game 2 is set on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Scores:

MAGNOLIA 106-- Travis 37, Lee 27, Melton 11, Sangalang 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 5, Pascual 4, Herndon 3, Reavis 0, Brondial 0.

BRGY. GINEBRA 98-- Brownlee 37, J. Aguilar 18, Tenorio 13, Slaughter 8, Thompson 7, Chan 5, Ferrer 4, Mariano 4, Mercado 2.

Quarterscores: 31-39, 63-55, 86-76, 106-98.

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