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Magnolia Hotshots subdues Rain or Shine with 1-point decider

Romeo Travis out-muscles his defenders from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to lead the Magnolia Hotshots to their second win in the conference. PBA Media Group
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

PASAY CITY - The Magnolia Hotshots broke the hearts of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as they walked away with a one-point win, 69-68, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Romeo Travis scored 26 points to lead Magnolia, but it was Mark Barroca who sealed the deal for the team in the end game, scoring one out of two free throws off a foul by Ping Exciminiano.

The team limited one of Rain or Shine's clutch scorers; Rey Nambatac to only 2 points the entire game, evident that their tough defense worked well in taking the game away from Rain or Shine.

Rain or Shine trailed the entire first half as the team entered halftime down, 25-32, but they managed to make a run at the start of the second half to eventually take the third quarter, 52-47.

Magnolia opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run and eventually opened a 10-point cushion, 68-58, with 4:41 to play

However, the Elasto Painters would not say over until it was over as they managed to tie the game, 68-all, with 2:17 left to play.

Javee Mocon scored six consecutive points from the free throw line while Kayel Locke scored a field goal that ignited the late comeback by Rain or Shine and Beau Belga was quick to pick up the offensive rebound out of a block by Travis on Locke's shot and scored the equaliser.

There would have been enough time for the Elasto Painters to complete their comeback, but the Hotshots, led by Travis, won over a defensive stop and completed a steal that led to Exciminiano to commit a foul that sent Barroca at the free throw line for the winning foul shot.

"Credits to the players - the mental toughness, the physical. It was a character game for us, pinaghandaan namin. This is a defensive game, kita naman sa field goal percentage and yung score. Both teams gave a good find. It only was a matter of the breaks of the game," said Coach Chito Victolero.

Up next for Magnolia is Alaska, which slipped to Meralco in the first game, on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

"This is an important game for us. We don't have time to celebrate because we only have one day to prepare for our game against Alaska. Sila din isang araw lang din preparation nila coming to Sunday's game," Victolero added.

The Hotshots improved their record at the team standings to 2 wins and 1 loss while the Elasto Painters are on a 2-game losing skid.

Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha