MAGNOLIA Pambansang Manok made it three wins in a row by dumping Terrafirma, 103-89, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports Center in Pampanga.
Hardly showing any signs of fatigue following their impressive 102-92 win over Talk N Text last Wednesday, the Hotshots used a strong third quarter to turn a close game into another rout.
Paul Lee scored 29 points, including 15 in the second quarter, as the Hotshots overcame a slow start against the Dyip to win pulling away.
Lee, who had 27 points in Magnolia’s upset victory over Talk N Text, was again unstoppable from the long court with 5-of-8 shooting from the three-point area.
Rome dela Rosa added 17 points, Ian Sangalang had a double double of 16 points and 10 rebounds and Jackson Corpuz had 10 points and six rebounds for Magnolia, whch improved to 4-4.
“Again, it’s all about our defense. Our defense saved us. If we keep their score to least less than 90, we have a chance of winning the game,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
“Actually, hirap kami nung first half. It’s a very hard game last night and ‘yun ang worry namin, how to recover ‘yung legs. Ang importante lang makuha namin ‘yung very important game na ito,” added Victolero.
CJ Perez finished with 19 points and Reden Celda added 16 points and nine boards in Terrafirma’s seventh straight setback.
In the second game, Meralco outckassed Rain or Shine, 85-78, for its first back-to-back wins in bubble action.
The Bolts drew big games from Chris Newsome (17), Basser Amer (14) and Reynel Hugnatan (13) to beat the E-Painters and move up to a share of fourth place with Phoenix with 5-3 win-loss record.
“We talked about trying to come out strong in the third as that’s been a problem for us in the past games,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Black was referring to the Bolts’ 28-7 scoring blast that allowed them to take control in the third quarter after a close first half.
Meralco led by as many as 23 points.
James Yap topscored with 18 points for Rain or Shine, which skidded to its third loss in their last four games and 4-3 overall.
Beau Belga added 11.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra and Talk N Text dispute the solo lead in a pivotal encounter at 6:45 p.m. Friday.
Both the Gin Kings and the Tropang Giga have identical 6-2 win-loss records.
The Gin Kings are looking for a third straight win and a 7-2 record that would push them to the No. 1 spot and closer to a coveted top four spot, which carries a twice-to-beat advantage in the eight-team quarterfinals.
Right now we’re just really looking at the top six (teams) and our head to head,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“If we can beat them then that gives us a good chance for the top four.”
Actually, the Gin Kings have already beaten Phoenix Super LPG, Meralco and Alaska, which all still have a shot at a top four. But the Kings also lost to Rain or Shine and still have to face San Miguel Beer on Sunday.
Talk N Text is looking at the same scenario.
The Tropang Giga have beaten Alaska, San Miguel and Phoenix and would be winding up the 11-game eliminations against Meralco on Saturday and Rain or Shine on Tuesday.
In other games Friday. Blackwater plays Terrafirma at 10 a.m., Alaska meets NorthPort at 1 p.m.and NLEX battles San Miguel at 4 p.m.
Magnolia (103) — Lee 29, Dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Corpuz 10, Dionisio 9, Banchero 8, Jalalon 7, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Barroca 2, Calisaan 0, Abundo 0.
Terrafirma (89) — Perez 19, Celda 16, Camson 14, Khobuntin 10, Tiongson 9, Calvo 6, Ramos 6, Adams 5, Gabayni 2, Cahilig 1, Batiller 1, Balagasay 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18; 48-46; 76-60; 103-89.
Meralco (85) — Newsome 17, Amer 14, Hugnatan 13, Maliksi 9, Hodge 8, Quinto 8, Jamito 6, Black 5, Almazan 4, Pinto 1, Faundo 0, Jackson 0, Jose 0, Salva 0, Caram 0.
Rain or Shine (78) — Yap 18, Torres 11, Belga 11, Nambatac 8, Wong 6, Tolentino 6, Borboran 6, Mocon 5, Onwubere 3, Norwood 2, Ponferada 0, Rivero 0, Rosales 0, Dolliguez 0,Arana 0.
Quarterscores: 27-28, 46-41, 74-51, 85-78.