Magnolia stuns Fajardo, San Miguel in finals opener
MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia built a lead big enough to fend off San Miguel and draw first blood in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, May 1.
The Hotshots had 6 players breaching double figures in the 99-94 win as June Mar Fajardo saw his herculean effort for the Beermen go to waste.
Paul Lee came through in crunchtime by knocking down the foul shots that made it a two-possession game for Magnolia and he finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Ian Sangalang had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Mark Barroca added 17 points, and 2 steals, while Jio Jalalon chipped in 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in the win.
Fajardo, who chalked up game-highs of 35 points and 21 rebounds, carried the San Miguel on his back late as he scored the last 15 points and singlehandedly trimmed a nine-point deficit to a whisker, 94-95.
But the Beermen could not complete the comeback after Sangalang pushed the Hotshots' lead to 3 with a jumper and after Marcio Lassiter hit nothing but board for the potential game-tying triple.
Lee then sealed the win by icing his foul shots with 17 seconds left as Chris Ross missed another triple for San Miguel in the final 10 seconds.
"If we limit San Miguel under a hundred points, we have a good chance [of winning]," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Rafi Reavis made his presence felt for the Hotshots with 12 points and 9 rebounds, while Justin Melton added 11 points and 4 rebounds.
Alex Cabagnot had 18 points, Arwind Santos chimed in 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and Von Pessumal put up 11 points as the only other Beermen players to score in twin digits.
Game 2 is on Friday, May 3, at the same venue.
Magnolia 99 - Lee 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 17, Jalalon 16, Reavis 12, Melton 11, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 4, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.
San Miguel 94 - Fajardo 35, Cabagnot 18, Santos 13, Pessumal 11, Romeo 8, Ross 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Standhardinger 2, Nabong 0, Lassiter 0.
Quarters: 34-30, 52-55, 80-73, 99-94.