In a battle of the present and the future, Kiefer Ravena was able to out-duel Paul Lee. However it was not enough, as the Magnolia Hotshots were able to out-muscle the NLEX Road Warriors, taking a 106-94 victory, Sunday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Hotshots, who are coming off a 47-point victory over the Kia Picanto last January 10, improved to 3-1 and have moved up to the second spot of the team standings. The Road Warriors, meanwhile, lost their second straight game after a 2-0 start.
“It’s all about our effort especially in the second half. Whole game ang effort ng mga bata andoon,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero. “I know it’s a very physical game and I’m very proud of my players because of the composure.
“They’re number one in offense and we limited them to under a hundred points so that’s good for us,” he added as the Hotshots out-rebounded NLEX, 61-42.
Paul Lee led the Hotshots with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting on top of four assists and three rebounds. Rome Dela Rosa had 14 points, while rookie Robbie Herndon and Aldrech Ramos chipped in 11 markers apiece.
The bout became a one-sided affair in favor of the Hotshots, as early as the second quarter, but it was in the third where they pulled away wide. A 10-0 spree ended by Lee’s triple sent them to a 71-48 lead with 7:29 on the clock.
NLEX showed signs of life with a 9-2 spurt to open the final frame, but it proved to be their last run. Magnolia did not let up after that, and Marc Pingris’ bucket with 3:58 left that sent them to a 101-85 lead sealed it for the Hotshots.
“Maganda para sa new year namin,” said Victolero on their back-to-back wins. “Kahit papaano ang first two games namin ng new year, kahit paapano maganda ang mindset ng mga players. It’s a total team effort.”
The loss put in vain the Herculean effort of Kiefer Ravena, who — after scoring just eight in their loss versus Phoenix — poured in 31 points on 60 percent shooting, along with five assists, four rebounds, four steals, and zero turnovers.
“We tried to stop Kiefer but nakagawa, talagang gumagawa siya ng paraan para maka-score,” said Victolero of Ravena, who graced the court for 32 minutes and 27 seconds. “At least na-limit namin ang ibang players ng NLEX.”
JR Quiñahan backed up their rookie with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks, while Kevin Alas chipped in 13 markers. Young big man Michael Miranda nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine caroms.
Magnolia will look to make it a three-game streak against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on January 20, Saturday at 6:45 PM. NLEX will aim to end their skid versus the San Miguel Beermen on January 19, Friday, at 7:00 PM. Both games will be at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Magnolia 105 – Lee 21, Dela Rosa 14, Herndon 11, Ramos 11, Jalalon 9, Simon 9, Melton 7, Pingris 7, Barroca 5, Sangalang 5, Reavis 4, Gamalinda 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0.
NLEX 94 – Ravena 31, Quiñahan 22, Alas 13, Miranda 9, Fonacier 8, Mallari 5, Baguio 4, Tiongson 2, Al-Hussaini 0, Gotladera 0, Rios 0.
Quarterscores: 30-18, 51-43, 85-68, 105-94.