PBA: Magnolia fends off San Miguel, nails quarters berth
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia drew a big game from import Nick Rakocevic and timely shots from Paul Lee to defeat San Miguel Beer, 85-80, on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rakocevic had 26 points and 28 rebounds while Lee knocked down back-to-back triples under the last two minutes to help the Hotshots formally clinch a berth in the quarterfinals while staying ahead of the standings with an 8-1 mark.
“It was a team effort,” Rakocevic said after posting his third game of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. “Everybody did their job and we fought till the last second.”
The result was a good way to start a tough week for Magnolia, which will next face Bay Area on Saturday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City in a showdown of the two of the three best teams in the eliminations.
Bay Area is a half game behind Magnolia for the lead at 8-2, sharing second with idle Converge.
Lee added 14 points, scoring the team’s last eight points that preserved the Hotshots’ triumph.
San Miguel cut the margin to one at 77-76 on a basket by import Devon Scott but Lee hit twice from downtown to extend Magnolia’s lead to seven with under a minute to go.
The Beermen absorbed their second straight loss and fell to the 10th spot in the standings at 3-5.
June Mar Fajardo, who only played twice for San Miguel this conference before undergoing throat procedure, appeared in uniform but didn’t see action, a sign that the six-time Most Valuable Player is close to seeing action once more.
MAGNOLIA 85 — Rakocevic 26, Lee 14, Sangalang 12, Barroca 12, Jalalon 6, Abueva 5, Wong 4, Dela Rosa 2, Corpuz 2, Ahanmisi 2, Laput 0, Dionisio 0.
SAN MIGUEL 80 — Scott 19, Lassiter 16, Perez 16, Manuel 16, Tautuaa 6, Ross 3, Herndon 2, Brondial 2, Enciso 0, Cruz 0.
Quarters: 23-25, 37-37, 65-60, 85-80.
PBA: Magnolia stays on top with win over Phoenix
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