By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Magnolia Hotshots Chicken Timplados just pulled off a dazzling victory after crushing the Ginebra San Miguel during the ‘Manila Clasico’ PBA Governor’s Cup clash, 118-88, last February 12, 2023, held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Magnolia’s victory was made sweeter after becoming the first team to take down Ginebra in the ongoing import-laced conference.
After dominating their previous three opponents, Ginebra broke their three-game winning streak at the hands of the rejuvenated Magnolia squad that is back with their winning ways since tapping the unstoppable Antonio Hester as their replacement import.
From a horrible 0-3 start, the Chicken Timplados now racked up their second win in a row under the services of Hester who also spearheaded the charge against the well-oiled Ginebra team.
Hester put up terrific numbers against the Gin Kings and finished the duel with a near triple-double performance of 28 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists.
The former Terrafirma Dyip reinforcement immediately imposed his will underneath while also playing a scrapper role when he almost out-rebounded Ginebra in the first seven minutes of action.
It was Ginebra who first got into the driver’s seat after hanging on to a 16-15 lead with three minutes remaining in the first period but a late offensive snowball from the Chicken Timplados courtesy of the aggressive Mark Barroca changed the entire complexion of the game.
Magnolia’s veteran and steady point guard drove hard to the basket at will and torched them during fast break situations.
From a 26-20 lead, the Chicken Timplados continued to pour in the offense midway through the second quarter and ballooned their lead to as much as 23 points heading into the second half.
It was then all Magnolia in the last two quarters after Ginebra failed to trim their deficit to a single digit despite the hot-shooting from super import and newly naturalized player Justin Brownlee.
Brownlee tried to will Ginebra back into the game with his efficient shooting from the perimeter but Magnolia’s waxing-hot offense was just too much to handle for the reigning Commissioner’s Cup champions.
“It’s all about competing. In the pregame, sinabi ko sa kanila na we have to enjoy the defensive battle kasi that’s our only chance against Ginebra, against an elite team like Ginebra. We need to compete for 53 minutes. Actually nga 53 minutes ang pinag-uusapan namin,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Magnolia will be looking to extend their winning streak to three when they square off against the NLEX Road Warriors on February 16 while Ginebra is hoping to avoid back-to-back losses against the San Miguel Beermen on February 17.