MANILA – A short-handed Magnolia squad still had more than enough to overpower NLEX, 99-84, in Game 2 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Playing without the injured Marc Pingris (left knee) and Justin Melton (hamstring), the Hotshots got an explosive performance from Paul Lee as they knotted up their best-of-seven series against the Road Warriors at one game apiece.
After being limited to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in Magnolia’s 87-88 loss in Game 1 last Saturday, Lee broke loose for 27 points on Monday night to lead the way in the Hotshots’ comfortable victory.
Game 3 of the series is on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots began to pull away in the second period, which saw Lee and Ian Sangalang taking turns in torching the Road Warriors. They built a 48-39 lead at the half and stretched it to 16 points, 64-48, midway through the third period off a Jiovani Jalalon lay-up.
NLEX mounted a rally behind Alex Mallari, whose triple sparked a 14-2 exchange that made it a four-point game, 66-62, with 1:14 left in the period. Kiefer Ravena also anchored their comeback attempt as he assisted on easy buckets for both Mallari and Michael Miranda.
But a booming triple by Aldrech Ramos doused NLEX’s fire, and Magnolia proceeded to take a 70-62 lead into the fourth period. PJ Simon took over from there, as he scored seven quick points – including back-to-back three-pointers – to open the payoff period. That pushed Magnolia on top, 80-64, and the Hotshots were never threatened from there.
MAGNOLIA 99 — Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Mendoza 0.
NLEX 84 — Mallari 13, Quiñahan 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Alas 6, Fonacier 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Ighalo 0, Monfort 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84.
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