MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia remained perched atop the PBA Commissioner’s Cup standings after eking out an 85-80 win over San Miguel at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, November 16.
Import Nick Rakocevic posted lofty numbers of 26 points, 28 rebounds, and 3 steals, while Paul Lee knocked down the biggest buckets late as the quarterfinals-bound Hotshots raised their record to a league-leading 8-1.
Lee scored 8 of his 14 points in the final two minutes to keep the Beermen at bay and eventually send the defending champions to their second straight defeat.
San Miguel got within a whisker after a Devon Scott basket, 76-77, before Lee drained back-to-back three-pointers – getting the lucky bounce on the second one – as Magnolia built a seven-point cushion, 83-76.
Although the Beermen scored 4 straight points to once again trim their deficit to a single possession, 83-80, Lee sealed the win for the Hotshots with a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left.
Ian Sangalang posted a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Mark Barroca put up 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists as Magnolia boosted its bid for a top-two finish, which merits a twice-to-beat playoff bonus.
Jio Jalalon added 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in the Hotshots’ third straight victory.
Scott chalked up 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 5 assists in the loss as San Miguel dropped to ninth place with a 3-5 record.
CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, and Vic Manuel all delivered 16 points for the Beermen.
Magnolia 85 – Rakocevic 26, Lee 14, Sangalang 12, Barroca 12, Jalalon 6, Abueva 5, Wong 4, Dela Rosa 2, Corpuz 2, Ahanmisi 2, Laput 0, Dionisio 0.
San Miguel 80 – Scott 19, Lassiter 16, Perez 16, Manuel 16, Tautuaa 6, Ross 3, Herndon 2, Brondial 2, Enciso 0, Cruz 0.
Quarters: 23-25, 37-37, 65-60, 85-80.