MANILA, Philippines-Magnolia used a cutthroat third quarter on Sunday night to carve out a 108-96 victory over Meralco and get back to the win column of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Hotshots unloaded 47 points in that blistering period to wrest control and leave the enemy scrambling the rest of the way, bouncing back from a stinging loss to visiting Bay Area over a week ago.
“[Here’s] a crazy stat: they (the Bolts) turned the ball over seven times and we scored 17 points out of those turnovers,” said assistant Jason Webb, who stood in for coach Chito Victolero during the post-game chat.
“These guys, they feed off their defense. We really had a bad second quarter, but the guys responded with tough defense at the start of the (third quarter),” he added.
Paul Lee was at the forefront of that attack, scoring 11 of his total 25 points in that third frame. Calvin Abueva chipped in 17 off the bench, while import Nick Rakocevic added 16 spiked with 20 rebounds as the Hotshots rose to 9-2 while boosting their chances of securing a playoff bonus.
Meralco got the goods from reinforcement KJ McDaniels, who finished with 32 points and nine rebounds. Aaron Black led two other locals in scoring double figures, but with Chris Newsome still out and Allein Maliksi ejected in the first half, the Bolts managed to only pull within 10, with under a minute left in the contest.
Magnolia plays Rain or Shine next and will need to win that duel and hope that Ginebra drops one of their last two games in order to clinch the No. 2 spot and bag the other twice-to-beat protection in the quarterfinals.
The Bolts, still in contention for a playoff spot, have sister team NLEX and then San Miguel for the final two assignments in the elimination phase.
MAGNOLIA 108 – Lee 27, Abueva 17, Rakocevic 16, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 11, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 6, Ahanmisi 3, Reavis 2, Corpuz 2, Laput 1, Wong 0, Dionisio 0
MERALCO 96 – McDaniels 32, Black 16, Quinto 14, Banchero 11, Johnson 9, Almazan 8, Caram 2, Hodge 2, Pascual 2, Maliksi 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Jose 0
QUARTERS: 27-21, 46-51, 93-74, 108-96
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