PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Escaping major injury, Rakocevic powers unbeaten Magnolia in NLEX rout

Delfin Dioquino

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Escaping major injury, Rakocevic powers unbeaten Magnolia in NLEX rout

BLOWOUT. Nick Rakocevic and Magnolia hand NLEX their second straight loss.

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Magnolia improves to 4-0 and remains the only unbeaten team in the PBA behind another big game from Nick Rakocevic

MANILA, Philippines – Nick Rakocevic survived an injury scare and powered unbeaten Magnolia to a 111-97 pummeling of NLEX in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, October 12.

Rakocevic churned out 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 steals to lift the Hotshots to a 4-0 record as he hardly looked like someone who went down with a feared knee injury.

Stellar in his first three games, Rakocevic hurt his knee following an accidental collision with teammate Jackson Corpuz and sat out the crucial stretch of their 94-92 win over TNT exactly a week ago.

But Rakocevic escaped a major injury and set the tone in the wire-to-wire win together with Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca, dropping 16 points in the first half to help Magnolia mount a 58-48 lead.

Jalalon, who finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, and 5 assists, and Barroca, who posted 16 points and 4 rebounds, backstopped Rakocevic in their sizzling start with 29 points combined in the first half.

Rakocevic then scattered 15 points in the third quarter as he almost matched the Road Warriors’ 17 points in the period to key the Hotshots to a commanding 86-65 advantage and they never looked back.

Paul Lee added 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the only undefeated team in the league, while Corpuz and Aris Dionisio netted 8 points each.

Kevin Alas and Justin Chua showed the way for the Road Warriors in scoring with 16 points apiece as NLEX head coach Frankie Lim opted to sit out import Earl Clark – their leading scorer – for the entire fourth quarter.

Clark put up 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

The loss kept Lim winless since he officially took over as NLEX head coach, with the Road Warriors absorbing their second straight defeat after back-to-back wins under interim coach Adonis Tierra.

Rookie Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser had 15 points for NLEX.

The Scores

Magnolia 111 – Rakocevic 36, Jalalon 18, Barroca 16, Lee 9, Dionisio 8, Corpuz 8, Ahanmisi 4, Reavis 3, Abueva 3, Wong 2, Zaldivar 2, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, Escoto 0.

NLEX 97 – Alas 16, Chua 16, Clark 15, Ganuelas-Rosser 15, Trollano 12, Nieto 7, Fonacier 6, Ighalo 6, Varilla 3, Miranda 1, Celda 0.

Quarters: 34-23, 58-48, 86-65, 111-97.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.