MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia secured a top-two finish in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and denied Rain or Shine an outright quarterfinal berth after a 106-90 comeback win at the PhilSports Arena on Friday, December 2.
Five players scored in double figures as the Hotshots banked on a balanced attack, particularly in their fourth-quarter breakaway, to end the eliminations with a 10-2 record and clinch the twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
A loss would have dropped Magnolia to No. 3 and allowed Barangay Ginebra to climb to second seed and nail the win-once incentive.
But the Hotshots overcame a double-digit deficit and dominated the Elasto Painters in the final frame behind import Nick Rakocevic, Ian Sangalang, and Mark Barroca.
Rakocevic finished with a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds, Sangalang put up 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Barroca churned out 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists as they anchored the tide-turning 21-5 blast.
Sangalang and Rakocevic combined for 7 unanswered points that broke an 83-83 tie before Barroca capped the run with back-to-back buckets that gave Magnolia a commanding 104-88 lead with a minute remaining.
Paul Lee posted 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Calvin Abueva added 12 points and 5 rebounds as the Hotshots head into the playoffs with back-to-back wins.
Magnolia looks to make quick work of No. 7 Phoenix in the quarterfinals starting next week.
Santi Santillan produced a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat that prevented Rain or Shine from claiming the eighth and last quarterfinal spot.
The Elasto Painters were primed to make the playoffs with no complications as they led by as many as 11 points, 39-28, and entered the fourth quarter with a 77-71 advantage only to get outscored 35-13 the rest of the way.
With the loss, Rain or Shine dropped to a tie with NLEX at 5-7 and will need to win their knockout match on Sunday, December 4, at the same venue to reach the quarterfinals.
Rey Nambatac delivered 15 points and import Ryan Pearson tallied 14 points and 5 rebounds in the Elasto Painters’ third loss in four games to end the elimination round.
Magnolia 106 – Rakocevic 21, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Abueva 12, Barroca 12, Dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 6, Ahanmisi 6, Mendoza 5, Wong 3, Reavis 0, Corpuz 0, Dionisio 0.
Rain or Shine 90 – Santillan 15, Nambatac 15, Pearson 14, Mamuyac 9, Torres 8, Ponferrada 6, Caracut 6, Nieto 6, Asistio 5, Norwood 4, Demusis 2.
Quarters: 24-28, 44-52, 71-77, 106-90.