Magnolia thwarted Rain or Shine’s second half rally with big shots late to secure a 70-62 victory and keep its streak alive Saturday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Paul Lee hit back-to-back fadeaway jumpers in the final minute as the Hotshots were able to hold off the Elasto Painters and win their fourth in a row, tying the defending champion San Miguel Beermen for sixth place at 5-4.
The Hotshots moved past the Elasto Painters, who absorbed their third consecutive defeat while dropping to eighth spot with an even 4-4 record.
It can also make Magnolia aspire for bigger goals with the possibility of securing a twice-to-beat advantage given to the top four teams after the eliminations.
Coach Chito Victolero, however, is more focused on what Magnolia can accomplish going into its final two games against NorthPort the following day and Blackwater on Wednesday.
“We’re just trying to control whatever yung kaya naming ma-control,” said Victolero.
Lee continued to sizzle for Magnolia, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting highlighted by a pair of two tough fadeaway jumpers to seal the final score.
The output hiked Lee’s average to 29.0 points in Magnolia’s last three matches.
But before Lee took charge, the Hotshots saw their 20-point lead reduced to only one, 62-61, on two free throws by Jewel Ponferada with over three minutes left.
Ian Sangalang scored a key basket to make it a three-point game for Magnolia, Rain or Shine’s Rey Nambatac split two foul shots before Jio Jalalon connected on a baseline jumper, 1:52 remaining to make it 66-62 Magnolia.
Kris Rosales and Ponferada emerged as the leaders of Rain or Shine’s averted rally in the second half as they made 14 and 13 points, respectively.
ROS dropped a half-game ahead of NLEX (4-5) in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.
MAGNOLIA 70 — Lee 31, Sangalang 14, Barroca 8, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Dela Rosa 4, Banchero 2, Corpuz 0, Melton 0, Calisaan 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 62 — Rosales 14, Ponferada 13, Nambatac 11, Belga 5, Wong 5, Norwood 4, Mocon 3, Yap 2, Torres 2, Arana 0, Borboran 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters: 19-16, 39-21, 56-46, 70-62.