PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Nick Rakocevic posts 45-25 in PBA debut as Magnolia sends Terrafirma to 18th straight loss

Delfin Dioquino

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Nick Rakocevic posts 45-25 in PBA debut as Magnolia sends Terrafirma to 18th straight loss

LAST LAUGH. Magnolia reinforcement Nick Rakocevic outduels Lester Prosper of Terrafirma in a fierce import battle.

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Serbian import Nick Rakocevic turns heads in his PBA debut as he powers Magnolia to a conference-opening win over Terrafirma in the Commissioner's Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Nick Rakocevic put the PBA on notice in his Magnolia debut, showing the way in a thrilling 100-92 win over Terrafirma in the Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, September 28.

The Serbian exploded for 45 points on top of 25 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals to outduel Lester Prosper in a fierce import battle as the Hotshots sent the Dyip crashing to their 18th straight loss.

Prosper also turned in a sensational performance of 41 points and 19 rebounds, but Terrafirma squandered a slim lead in the fourth quarter and saw Rakocevic take Magnolia home for its conference-opening victory.

The Dyip grabbed a 92-91 lead off a Prosper bucket with three minutes remaining before Paul Lee drained a triple that ignited a 9-0 spurt the Hotshots used to steal the win.

Rakocevic then scored the last 4 points of the run to reset the mark for most points scored by a player in a single game this conference previously held by Prosper, who erupted for 43 points in their loss to Converge.

Jio Jalalon churned all-around numbers in the triumph with 12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Ian Sangalang posted 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Lee added 9 points as Magnolia held on despite squandering a 15-point lead after Terrafirma keyed on Rakocevic defensively early in the fourth quarter.

Rakoecevic scored just 6 points in the final salvo, but all of his buckets came timely as the Dyip saw their losing streak to the Hotshots extend to 14 consecutive games.

Juami Tiongson backstopped Prosper with 19 points – 10 coming in the fourth period – on top of 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals for Terrafirma, which slipped to 0-2 this conference.

No other player scored in double figures for the Dyip side that missed head coach Johnedel Cardel due to health and safety protocols.

The Scores

Magnolia 100 – Rakocevic 45, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 10, Lee 9, Corpuz 9, Barroca 8, Wong 2, Dionisio 2, Dela Rosa 1, Ahanmisi 0, Mendoza 0.

Terrafirma 92 – Prosper 41, Tiongson 19, Munzon 8, Cabagnot 6, Cahilig 4, Gomez de Liano 4, Ramos 4, Camson 3, Gabayni 3, Alolino 0, Calvo 0, Mina 0, Balagasay 0.

Quarters: 29-26, 59-54, 80-71, 100-92.

– 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.