MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia kept its record unblemished in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as it thwarted NorthPort in a 109-91 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, October 16.
Nick Rakocevic delivered anew with 26 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks for the Hotshots, who hiked their record to 5-0 to remain the only unbeaten team in the league.
Rakocevic set the tone in the rout by unloading 10 points in the opening quarter to help Magnolia prop up a 30-20 lead, which doubled at the end of the third period.
Unlike the past games, though, Rakocevic did not need to do most of the heavy lifting as the Hotshots banked on a balanced scoring attack with four more players finishing in double figures.
Mark Barroca chalked up 13 points and 8 assists, Jio Jalalon finished with 10 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals, while Jerrick Ahanmisi netted 10 points.
Back from a two-game absence caused by a suspected typhoid fever, Ian Sangalang added 10 points and 4 rebounds for the Magnolia in just 14 minutes of action.
As the Hotshots thrived on offense, their fifth straight win had a lot to do with their vaunted defense as they kept key Batang Pier players from being effective.
NorthPort star Robert Bolick posted 15 points but got limited to a season-low 1 assist, while import Prince Ibeh tallied 11 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, although he coughed up a conference-high 7 turnovers.
Kevin Ferrer topscored with 19 points in the loss that dropped the Batang Pier to an even 3-3.
Magnolia 109 – Rakocevic 26, Barroca 13, Ahanmisi 10, Jalalon 10, Sangalang 10, Corpuz 9, Lee 7, Abueva 6, Dela Rosa 6, Escoto 5, Dionisio 3, Mendoza 2, Wong 2, Reavis 0, Laput 0.
NorthPort 91 – Ferrer 19, Bolick 15, Ibeh 11, Tolentino 11, Ayaay 10, Salado 6, Chan 5, Balanza 5, Sumang 3, Calma 2, Taha 1, Caperal 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 30-20, 56-39, 86-65, 109-91.