When his team defeated the other side and won the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association – Governor’s Cup Finals this past Wednesday evening, Chito Victolero remarked of the occasion, “So this is how it feels to win a championship here in the PBA.” For this he can probably thank the resilient legacy of his team the Magnolia Hotshots, whose name they carry now is only the latest in many monikers used throughout its three decades in the PBA. Their most famous team name is Purefoods, and this week they have added to their formidable championship tally by beating another top team: Alaska.
ESPN 5 reports that the PBA Governor’s Cup Finals for this year never needed to go the distance of all seven games when, on Game 6 at the Ynares Sports Center this December 19, The Magnolia Hotshots took the Alaska Aces out of the running in a high-scoring game that ended 102-86 for the former. The main offensive of the Hotshots for this critical game was centered on import Romeo Travis, who contributed 32 points and 17 rebounds. The team also had a solid foundation to their scoring by exploding into action on the first quarter with a 12-0 run.
Travis’ strong showing here as part of Magnolia was also something of a refutation to his last PBA finals appearance back in 2015, as part of the Alaska Aces even. He had not been able to help them to victory then (with his reception of the Bobby Parks PBA Best Import of the Conference being something of a consolation), but with the Hotshots Travis was able to put that behind him; 15 of the points Magnolia ticked down in their 32-18 First Quarter over the Aces were from his hand, and despite a determined pursuit by Alaska, they never led.
The American (and naturalized-Macedonian) Magnolia import may have decided to conserve his energy and underperform during Game 5 so he would have gas in the tank for this encounter. And it was not a one-man show anyway; Travis’ fellow Hotshots chipped in as well, with Paul Lee (16P-4R-2A), Mark Barroca (13P-5R-4A) and Jio Jalalon (11P-4R-5A) bolstering the score. Jalalon also made sure the last charge from Alaska in Q4 (96-86) never amounted to anything, while it was Barroca who would be named the Finals MVP.
All in all, 2018 was a one-year monopoly of sorts for the three PBA teams under the San Miguel umbrella, with the SM Beermen being the All-Filipino Cup champions, Brgy. Ginebra the Commissioner’s Cup champions, and of course the Magnolia Hotshots pulling the hat trick for the Governor’s Cup championship.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News