Paul Lee played his best game of the conference to power Magnolia past San Miguel, 100-90, in a battle of Honda PBA Philippine Cup heavyweights, Sunday evening at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The 32-year-old finished with 32 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter alone that saw him take over in the final 6:33 as the Hotshots capped off their eliminations run at 8-3 to fan their twice-to-beat hopes for the quarterfinals.
With his side clinging to a slim two-point lead, the star guard scored seven straight points and converted a three-point play following Mark Barroca’s free throws in a 12-2 run that gave them a 95-83 advantage with 3:34 left.
Lee shot 9-of-15 from the field. He also collected five assists, four rebounds, and a steal in the 27 minutes he saw action.
“Overall, offense and defense, sobrang okay yung ginawa namin. Yung gameplan namin, nasunod lahat,” said the three-time champion, who turned in his fifth career 30-point outing, per league stats chief Fidel Mangonon III.
Ian Sangalang supplied 15 points and 12 rebounds, as rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi chimed in 11 in the victory that made head coach Chito Victolero delighted.
“Actually last bubble, we were 7-4 but we were No. 7. Sobrang tight nung last bubble eh. Now yung four wins baka pwede pa eh, or yung five wins. Yun yung pagkakaiba nung sa last bubble,” he recalled of the Clark bubble.
“Last bubble I remember we had six straight wins but No. 7 kami. Ngayon 8-3 kami. We learned a lot. And yun yung gusto ko na nangyari ngayon. It was an experience before na nagawan namin ng paraan this season.”
The Hotshots won despite missing the services of Justin Melton for the second straight game as he continues medication for his kidney stones.
“Nagkaroon siya ng parang stones sa kidney. But I think OK na si Justin ngayon, nasa hotel lang siya, kailangan lang ng pahinga ng few days, but makakasama na namin siya siguro next week,” Victolero said.
Meanwhile, CJ Perez led San Miguel with 20 points and seven rebounds in the defeat that dropped their record to 6-4.
Arwind Santos made 18 points, as Marcio Lassiter and Von Pessumal each had 13 markers apiece for a Beermen side that did not have Terrence Romeo.
Romeo was reportedly sent back to Manila to check his Achilles, which he hurt versus Phoenix Super LPG last Friday.
Magnolia 100 – Lee 32, Sangalang 15, Ahanmisi 11, Barroca 9, Dionisio 8, Abueva 8, Pascual 7, Reavis 4, Corpuz 4, Jalalon 2, Dela Rosa 0, Brill 0, De Leon 0.
San Miguel 90 – Perez 20, Santos 18, Pessumal 13, Lassiter 13, Zamar 9, Fajardo 8, Tautuaa 5, Ross 4, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0, Gamalinda 0, Sena 0.
Quarterscores: 25-14, 47-39, 66-65, 100-90.