Magnolia Hotshots lose again in fourth finals


IT WAS like a funeral march as Magnolia exited the confetti-filled floor of the Big Dome.

The Hotshots, the best team of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup eliminations, were left to lick their wounds after falling short. Again.

“Probably the saddest birthday,” said veteran Paul Lee, whose team lost for the fourth time in four finals appearances since 2018 on the day he turned 35.

No use dwelling on this, though.

“Credit to San Miguel, they really wanted it tonight. As for us, move on; tomorrow is another day.”

The Hotshots had their best shot at getting over the hump, which started right after their Season 42 Governors’ Cup championship. They lost back-to-back to SMB in the Philippine Cup finals of Seasons 43 and 44 then to TNT in the Season 46 All-Filipino title duel prior to this failed attempt.

Magnolia looked headed to force a deciding Game 7 when it led 95-86 at the 4:58 mark of the fourth. But the Hotshots failed to stop the SMB juggernaut in the windup.

“We hung in there the whole game but I felt like we folded in the fourth quarter,” import Tyler Bey rued.

Mr. Bey, who led Magnolia to top seeding in the playoffs, expressed willingness to return and finish the job.

“It’s amazing. Personally I love the Philippines, I love Magnolia. Hopefully, we can run it back,” he said.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted but I just feel like I met a great group of guys. I just hope I can run it back and just go from there.” — Olmin Leyba