PBA: Paul Lee, Magnolia rally to stun weary NLEX
MANILA, Philippines — Paul Lee regained his touch when it mattered most as Magnolia came back to stun NLEX, 103-100, in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
Lee converted on a four-point play that gave the Hotshots the lead for good, 101-100, with 32.5 seconds left. He finished with 18 points, six of which came inside the final six minutes of the game.
But while Lee’s heroics capped Magnolia’s rally from 22 down, it was Chris Banchero and Jio Jalalon who were at the forefront of the Hotshots’ second half fightback.
Banchero and Jalalon caused chaos on the defensive end as the Road Warriors struggled to take care of the ball especially in the fourth quarter.
The pesky guards also got it done on the offensive end with 19 points each, helping Magnolia pick up its first victory seven months after losing to San Miguel Beer in the season opener.
NLEX looked well on its way to a blowout after taking a 70-48 advantage at the 6:31 mark of the third quarter.
But the Hotshots tightened their defensive screws and pounced on the weary Road Warriors’ carelessness.
NLEX also couldn’t catch a break with its top big man JR Quiñahan fouling out with still 9:08 remaining.
Its starting guard Kevin Also picked up his sixth foul three minutes later before another key cog in Jericho Cruz turned his right ankle with 2:46 left.
The string of mishaps left Ravena alone to do the heavy lifting down the stretch.
Huffing and puffing, the star guard found second wind and nearly won it for the Road Warriors but his 27 points, including a tough go-ahead fadeaway with 1:17 left, not enough to will his team to its first victory.
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