Magnolia would not be denied its date with destiny.
Romeo Travis, despite a pulled left hamstring, made sure of that by scattering a career-high 50 points in leading the Hotshots to a 112-108 win over Barangay Ginebra Friday at the Ynares center in Antipolo and into the PBA Governors Cup finals.
Ian Sangalang, Jio Jalalon and even another injured player in Paul Lee did their part in the stretch, enabling Magnolia to come out on top of the hard-fought game, seal the best-of-five semifinals duel 3-1 and foil reigning back-to-back champion Ginebra’s bid for a third straight finals appearance.
Mainly, however, it was all about Travis, who made 20 of 26 shots in a big bounce-back from his 12-point performance in a 103-107 loss last Wednesday, when he hurt his leg.
“I didn’t want a Game 5,” explained Travis, who also had 13 rebounds. “The way my leg is feeling, I couldn’t play in Game 5.”
Coach Chito Victolero bore Travis’ statement out.
“It’s a Grade 2 hamstring injury,” related Victolero, who admitted to having a backup in case the series got dragged into a decider.
After earning its second finals stint in three conferences this season, Magnolia now awaits the winner of the other semifinals duel pitting Alaska and Meralco, a series that the Aces lead 2-1 heading to Saturday’s Game 4.
Magnolia 112 – Travis 50, Sangalang 14, Lee 11, Jalalon 9, Herndon 8, Barroca 8, Simon 6, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 2, Melton 0, Brondial 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 108 – Brownlee 32, Aguilar 25, Thompson 12, Tenorio 12, Devance 11, Slaughter 7, Mercado 5, Chan 2, Mariano 2, Ferrer 0.
Quarterscores: 20-27, 51-53, 81-79, 112-108