PBA: Magnolia nears semis, beats Rain or Shine in playoff opener
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia took a step closer to the next round after it held off Rain or Shine, 81-70, in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinals in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots, the No. 3 team in the conference, only need one more win to advance to the semifinals and face the winner of the quarterfinals series between Meralco and NLEX.
Down 42-37 heading into the break, the Hotshots responded with a dominant third quarter where they outscored the sixth seeded Elasto Painters 23-8 to take a 60-50 after three periods.
“Game 1 is very important for us because in any series this will be the one to give any momentum,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “We prepared for this and we knew that this was going to be a defensive battle, you should have mental toughness for this kind of matchup.”
“We were down in the first half but in the second we kept executing.”
Toughness thus became Magnolia’s calling card against the equally-rugged Elasto Painters as the Hotshots dominated the paint with a 66-43 rebounding edge.
The Hotshots also outscored Rain or Shine 44-20 in the shaded area.
Paul Lee led Magnolia’s offense with 20 points while Ian Sangalang had 19 points and 13 boards.
Calvin Abueva, who leads the race for Best Player of the Conference, was a field goal shy away from a double-double as he put up eight points and 13 rebounds.
Santi Santillan led the Elasto Painters with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and one block.
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