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PBA: Paul Lee the closer as Magnolia downs SMB, boosts Top 2 bid

Paul Lee closed it out like what he’s done many times in the past as Magnolia added to San Miguel’s woes, 85-80, to secure a quarterfinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The veteran gunslinger finished with 14 points, scoring the Hotshots’ last eight points to ward off the Beermen’s late comeback attempt on the way to their third consecutive victory, strengthening their grip on the top spot as well.

“Sinwerte lang kami sa dulo kasi key naman talaga namin doon is yung depensa namin,” said Lee. “It’s not ‘yung na-score ko sa dulo offensively, ‘yung factor doon is how we stopped papunta doon sa offense namin.

“Yun yung pinaka key doon kung bakit kami nanalo. We limited them to 80 points, yun naman yung target namin. Nakuha naman namin ‘yun,” he continued.

Nick Rakocevic starred as well in the triumph with a monster line of 26 points and 28 rebounds, together with three steals and a block.

Ian Sangalang tallied his own double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Mark Barroca chimed in 12 markers also, on top of five rebounds and four assists in the victory that hiked their win-loss record to 8-1.

Magnolia now shifts its attention to Bay Area in one of the highly-awaited match-ups of the tilt this Saturday, 6:45 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.

Devon Scott led San Miguel with 19 points and 17 rebounds in the loss, their second in a row that dragged them to 10th with a 3-5 record.

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The trio of CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, and Vic Manuel all had 16 points for the Beermen, who actually led by as much as eight early in the match.

If it’s any consolation, SMB saw June Mar Fajardo back in uniform for the first time since undergoing throat surgery last month, an indication that he could see action in Saturday’s match against Phoenix Super LPG at 4:30 p.m.

The Scores:

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.

Quarterscores: 23-25, 37-37, 65-60, 85-80

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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