Magnolia Hotshots Triumph in PBA Season Opener

In the season opener of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Magnolia Hotshots secured a hard-fought victory against a shorthanded TNT team with a final score of 110-102 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Manila.

The Hotshots, fresh off an impressive 11-game sweep during the PBA On Tour exhibition, continued their winning streak into the official season. Import Tyler Bey was a standout performer, notching a double-double with 31 points and an incredible 20 rebounds, 15 of which came in a crucial fourth-quarter surge. Bey’s stellar performance played a pivotal role in ensuring Magnolia’s triumph despite a spirited comeback attempt by TNT.

Key contributors for Magnolia included Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Aris Dionisio, Rome dela Rosa, James Laput, and Jio Jalalon. This balanced team effort was instrumental in securing the win and setting the tone for their Commissioner’s Cup campaign.

Coach Chito Victolero emphasized the importance of focusing on the present season, noting that their 11-0 exhibition record was in the past. He highlighted the need for commitment and determination to succeed in the upcoming competition.

Mark Barroca showcased his skills on the court with an impressive stat line, delivering 19 points, along with three rebounds and three assists. Paul Lee contributed significantly with 17 points and five assists, despite a 6-of-16 shooting performance.

Notably, the Hotshots played without Calvin Abueva, who was sidelined due to a recent surgery for hemorrhoid removal. Despite his absence, the team exhibited resilience and depth to secure the victory.

On the opposing side, TNT faced a challenging season opener without some key players, including import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy, and Poy Erram, each absent for various reasons. Quincy Miller, a temporary replacement for Hollis-Jefferson, delivered an outstanding performance with 37 points and 14 rebounds. However, TNT struggled to seize control of the game, never leading from the start and only managing to close the gap to as little as three points in the third quarter.

Calvin Oftana, fresh from his triumphant gold medal win with Gilas Pilipinas in the Hangzhou Asian Games, displayed his confidence on the court. He contributed significantly with 28 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals despite the team’s defeat.

The exciting season opener set the stage for an action-packed Commissioner’s Cup, with Magnolia emerging as an early contender with their impressive performance.

Image source: sports.inquirer.net

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