Magnolia earns twice-to-beat, pulls plug on Meralco’s playoff hopes
Magnolia locked up the second twice-to-beat advantage and eliminated Meralco from playoff contention after a 94-65 win in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at Xavier University Gym Saturday in Cagayan de Oro City.
Paul Lee sparked a second-quarter breakaway that saw the Hotshots go on a 10-0 run and were never threatened from that point on.
Magnolia, which joined defending champion San Miguel Beer in the top two, stretched its lead to 20, 60-40, after a free throw by Sangalang at the 5:32 mark of the third quarter.
Lee was pretty much unguardable throughout the game, especially in early part of the fourth quarter, where he toyed with Meralco’s defense. He hit a triple to make it, 73-52, before zig-zagging his way for a nifty drive to make it, 77-55, with 9:07 remaining.
The star guard finished with 21 points and three steals in just less than 20 minutes on the floor.
Magnolia wrapped up its elimination round schedule with an 8-3 card while Meralco (4-7), which will miss the all-Filipino Cup playoffs for the third consecutive time.
Ian Sangalang and Marc Pingris combined for 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for the Hotshots, who shot 50 percent from the field while limiting the Bolts to just 35 percent.
Magnolia cruised to victory despite missing the services of playmaker Jio Jalalon. Jalalon, a native of CDO, is with Gilas Pilipinas, which plays Japan on Sunday in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers at Mall of Asia Arena.
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