|Mark Barroca's dagger trey secured the Hotshots' 3-1 semis lead over the Bolts. PBA Images|
MANILA—Mark Barroca helped preserve Magnolia's dominance over Meralco in the end as the former escaped with an 81-69 win in Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Barroca scored a dagger triple with 2:11 remaining as the Hotshots survived a late push from the Bolts that seemed reminiscent of their comeback during their elimination round meeting as the former now has a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.
Magnolia quickly went for the kill early on, slowly but surely building a lead as high as 22 points in the third quarter.
But after the team brought its lead back to 21 with 9:16 left in the fourth, Meralco unleashed a 19-3 run that trimmed it down to just five, 74-69, with 2:34 remaining.
Barroca then doused cold water on the Bolts' last attack with his booming triple that sparked the Hotshots' endgame 7-0 run.
Barroca, Ian Sangalang, and Calvin Abueva each scored 17 points for Magnolia, which could close out the series in Game 5 on Wednesday.
Abueva also had 12 rebounds, while Sangalang grabbed 11 as both players completed a double-double.
Reynel Hugnatan's vintage performance of 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal went down the drain as Meralco now needs to sweep the last three games to book a spot in the finals.
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