MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Even without two of their key players, the Magnolia Hotshots repulsed the NLEX Road Warriors, 99-84, to take Game 2 and even their best-of-7 semifinals series at the Mall of Asia Arena Monday, March 12.
Paul Lee, who finished with just 8 points in Magnolia's 87-88 Game 1 loss last March 10, finished with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals for the Hotshots, which missed the services of Marc Pingris (ACL injury) and Justin Melton (strained hamstring).
Ian Sangalang added 18 points and 8 rebounds, Mark Barroca had 11 points and 6 rebounds and Aldrech Ramos and Rome dela Rosa combined for 20 points in the win, which saw the Hotshots pull away for good in the 4th quarter.
The Road Warriors trimmed a once 16-point deficit to just 4 points, 62-66, before the Hotshots rode on a 17-4 run, highlighted by a personal 8-0 blitz by Peter June Simon, bridging the last two periods to lead 83-76.
Jiovani Jalalon flirted with a triple-double of 9 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds for the Hotshots.
"Credit to my players, because of the team effort on both ends. We adjusted a little bit on our defense, and on offense, we just tried to move the ball and looking for the good shots, which is hindi namin nagawa noong Game 1 (we were not able to do in Game 1)," said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Kiefer Ravena and Cyrus Baguio, who conjoined for 33 points in Game 1, had only 9 and 4 markers, respectively. Ravena also coughed up 5 turnovers.
Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan paced the Road Warriors with 13 apiece while Rabeh Al-Hussaini had 10 markers.
Game 3 will be held on Wednesday, March 14, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia (99): Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Mendoza 0
NLEX (84): Mallari 13, Quiñahan 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Alas 6, Fonacier 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Ighalo 0, Monfort 0
Quarter scores: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84
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.