The Magnolia Hotshots used Marc Pingris as inspiration and displayed their brand of basketball to rout the NLEX Road Warriors, 99-84, to tie their 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals series at 1-1, Monday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots rallied behind their fallen leader as the 36-year-old Pingris got diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee earlier Monday after incurring such back in Game One last Saturday. Pingris will now sit out the rest of the season.
“Yung inspiration na binibigay niya sa’min, napakalaki,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “Every now and then nagte-text si Ping, sinasabi niya sa amin na gawin ang larong ito para sa team, para sa buong team.”
Paul Lee made up for his lackluster eight-point showing in Game One as he produced 27 points on 47 percent shooting. Ian Sangalang had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Mark Barroca had 11 markers and six boards.
Magnolia gained the upper hand in the second frame after taking a 32-20 advantage, and that cushion expanded by as much as 16, 64-48, come the third chapter after a 7-0 rally ended by Jio Jalalon’s basket with 6:23 on the clock.
NLEX rallied late in the third and closed by four, 62-66, after Kiefer Ravena’s freebies, but it proved to be their last surge as PJ Simon led a 13-2 run and propelled Magnolia to an 83-66 lead with 8:33 left to play and never looked back.
“We just only tied the series,” added Victolero. “Credit to my players, because of the team effort on both ends, we adjusted a little bit on our defense, and on offense, we just tried to move the ball, and looking for the good shots.”
Rome Dela Rosa and Aldrech Ramos chipped in 10 markers apiece for Magnolia. Jio Jalalon, who defended the rookie Ravena in the majority of the match, had nine points, 10 assists, six rebounds, a steal, and a block.
JR Quiñahan and Alex Mallari each had 13 points to lead NLEX. Rabeh Al-Hussaini made 10 off the bench, while Ravena was just limited to nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from the floor but made up for it with seven assists.
Both squads will look to break the tie on Game Three this Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 PM at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia 99 — Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Mendoza 0.
NLEX 84 — Mallari 13, Quiñahan 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Alas 6, Fonacier 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Ighalo 0, Monfort 0.
Quarterscores: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84.