RIZAL, Philippines – Magnolia tightened its grasp on the top spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after a hard-earned 90-80 win over Phoenix at the Ynares Center on Saturday, November 12.
Calvin Abueva provided spark off the bench with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals as the Hotshots banked on a balanced scoring attack in their second straight win to improve to a league-leading 7-1 record.
A loss would have dropped Magnolia to a three-team tie with Bay Area and Converge, but the Hotshots built a lead as big as 19 points before they fended off the Fuel Masters’ second-half surge.
Import Nick Rakocevic showed the way for Magnolia with a double-double of 18 points, 18 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks, while Jio Jalalon flirted with a triple-double after churning out 12 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds.
Big man Ian Sangalang added 10 points, all coming in the first half as the Hotshots mounted a 50-36 advantage at halftime.
That lead grew to 57-38 early in the 3rd quarter before Phoenix fought back late and got within 6 points, 66-72, behind Sean Anthony, who unloaded 13 of his 17 points in the period.
But the Fuel Masters failed to complete their comeback as Jalalon and Abueva conspired in the final frame, combining for 10 points in the quarter as Phoenix absorbed its second straight defeat.
Mark Barroca and Paul Lee added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the win.
Anthony also finished with 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in the losing effort, while RJ Jazul and Javee Mocon put up 11 and 10 points, respectively, and combined for 9 assists and 5 steals.
Fuel Masters import Kaleb Wesson struggled to get it going on offense, netting a conference-low 9 points to go with 18 rebounds as Phoenix, which rode on a five-game winning streak before its pair of losses, dropped to 5-5.
Magnolia 90 – Rakocevic 18, Abueva 15, Jalalon 12, Barroca 11, Lee 10, Sangalang 10, Dela Rosa 8, Wong 4, Dionisio 2, Corpuz 0, Ahanmisi 0.
Phoenix 80 – Anthony 17, Jazul 11, Mocon 10, Wesson 9, Tio 7, Manganti 5, Rios 5, Camacho 4, Perkins 4, Adamos 3, Garcia 3, Robles 2, Pascual 0, Serrano 0.
Quarters: 27-18, 50-36, 76-66, 90-80.