Magnolia stretches win streak to 3, nips Phoenix in come-from-behind fashion
MANILA, Philippines - The Magnolia Hotshots hacked out a come-from-behind 97-91 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters for their third straight victory in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City Saturday, January 20.
Phoenix had a 5-point lead with only 3 minutes left in the game following a Jason Perkins bucket but crumbled down the stretch as the Hotshots rode on a 9-0 blitz, fueled by Ian Sangalang's 5 points, for a 93-89 advantage.
In that stretch, Matthew Wright and LA Revilla committed back-to-back turnovers that paved way for the Magnolia run.
A pair of Gelo Alolino freebies made it a one-possession game but Rafi Reavis gave Magnolia enough breathing room with a putback off Paul Lee's miss, 95-91, with 16 seconds left in the game.
The Fuel Masters still had a chance to close the gap but Wright airballed his 3-point attempt as Lee buried the insurance free throws for the Hotshots.
Lee had 20 points and 5 rebounds for the Hotshots, who improved to 4-1 for solo second. Rome dela Rosa made his presence felt with 17 points while Sangalang added 16 markers and 11 caroms.
Rafi Reavis, playing only in his second game of the season, was magnificent for Magnolia, registering 11 points, all in the fourth quarter, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Marc Pingris, meanwhile, hauled down 17 of the Hotshots' 55 boards.
"It was all mental toughness in the end. It's about our perseverance and our desire to win and our chemistry sa dulo. We knew in this game, medyo mabigat talaga to kasi I know Phoenix will bounce back coming from a tough loss sa last game nila. Credit sa players, hindi sila naggive up sa pressure," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
(It was all mental toughness in the end. It's about our perseverance and our desire to win and our chemistry in the endgame. We knew that this will be a tough game since Phoenix wants to bounce back off that tough loss in their previous game. Credit to the players, they did not give in to the pressure.)
Alolino paced the Fuel Masters, who absorbed their second straight loss, with 19 points while Wright added 17 markers, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jeff Chan had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss.
Phoenix dropped to 2-3 and created a 4-team logjam at fourth place.
Magnolia (97): Lee 20, Dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Barroca 12, Reavis 11, Simon 6, Jalalon 5, Pingris 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Herndon 1, Melton 0
Phoenix (91): Alolino 19, Wright 17, Chan 12, Jazul 9, Eriobu 8, Chua 7, Mendoza 6, Kramer 6, Intal 3, Revilla 2, Perkins 2, Wilson 0, Dehesa 0
Quarter scores: 30-23, 47-45, 67-75, 97-91. – Rappler.com