MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Magnolia sprang out of a rut in its head-on matches with fierce rival Barangay Ginebra, banking heavily on the big games of Romeo Travis and Paul Lee to carve out a 106-98 win in Game One of their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal series at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo last night.
Travis poured in a PBA career-high of 37 points while Lee fired away 27, including tough clutch shots at the finish as the Hotshots snapped a seven-game losing skein versus the Kings in an opportune time at that.
The Hotshots seek a 2-0 lead in the short series in their next game over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Alaska Milk and Meralco, both upbeat and in high spirits after defying great odds to make the Final Four, open their own semis playoff at 6:30 p.m., also at the Ynares Sports Arena.
“We stuck to the game plan. We started slow but we picked it up in the second quarter with both defense and offense. They’re a great team and we just tried to slow them down. There’s no way we can stop them, we just slowed them down,” said Travis after helping the Hotshots pull a first win over Ginebra in over a year.
“Coach Johnny (Abarrientos) devised a good game plan and we believed in it. We stuck with it, and fortunately it worked,” said Lee, the back-breaker with his crucial eight-point binge in the last three minutes of the game.
The Kings erupted with 39 big points in the opening quarter but the Hotshots turned the tempo in the second quarter, wresting the lead at the half, 63-55, and playing tough all the way to gaining the crucial head start in the series.
Travis and Lee themselves led their second-quarter siege, along with Justin Melton who scored 11 points off the bench. Travis and Lee had 16 points apiece in the first 24 minutes.
Magnolia 106 – Travis 37, Lee 27, Melton 11, Sangalang 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 5, Pascual 4, Herndon 3, Brondial 0, Reavis 0.
Ginebra 98 – Brownlee 37, Aguilar 18, Tenorio 13, Slaughter 8, Thompson 7, Chan 5, Mariano 4, Ferrer 4, Mercado 2.
Quarterscores: 31-39, 63-55, 86-76, 106-98