Juan Carlo Mercado

The Magnolia Hotshots finished the game with their heads held high, tormenting the San Miguel Beermen in a 96-85 victory as they equalized to 2 games a-piece in their best-of-seven series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Friday.

Photo Courtesy of PBA Images

The Hotshots anchored Game 4 on their coordinated plays and their lockdown defense which forced the Beermen to take a lot of tough-angled shots and missed some of them.

Best Player of the Game Tyler Bey emerged as Magnolia’s main offensive weapon, racking up 26 points, 12 rebounds, six steals, and one block as he gave SMB’s import Benny Boatwright a hard time and limited him to just only 16 points and a three-pointer.

With San Miguel pulling ahead in the latter part of the deciding quarter, Ian Sangalang powered Magnolia's 8-0 stint with his inside presence and a short stab to disrupt SMB's rhythm and allow his squad to regain momentum.

“In the fourth quarter and the middle of the third quarter, we feel like we have an advantage in terms of speed, that's why we played small. We feel that we have an advantage on Ian down the post so we maximized that, and we know Ian, he can deliver us down the stretch,” said Magnolia head Coach Chito Victolero.

Victolero also emphasized that strong defense is their key, locking them below 90 points gives the Hotshots their best shot at winning.

Sangalang and Boatwright both traded layups, 91-83, but Paul Lee’s dagger bucket from downtown and Sangalang’s hook shot slimmed San Miguel’s hopes of sparking a late comeback, 96-83.

Don Trollano didn’t want to give up as he scored a layup during the last minute, 95-86, but unfortunately for the Beermen, it was too late to be within striking distance.

CJ Perez who earlier that game won the Best Player of the Conference award manufactured 17 points but was limited by his early foul trouble in the first half with 4 fouls before the second quarter ended.

June Mar Fajardo chimed in a double-double performance with 16 points and 14 boards for the Beermen.

Lee, on the other hand, had 14 points and Mark Barroca also tallied 14 markers along with seven rebounds and six assists for the Hotshots.

Game five will be on Sunday with both teams having a chance to take a 3-2 series advantage at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.