MAGNOLIA moved closer to clinching a quarterfinal berth with a 116-89 win over also-ran NLEX on Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Wayne Chism debuted with 27 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks as the Hotshots improved to 5-5 (win-loss), enough to guarantee at least a playoff for a place in the Last Eight.
Paul Lee had 21 points, four rebounds, and six assists, including two triples early in the first quarter that gave the Hotshots a 13-3 lead and set the tone for the rest of the match.
Columbian dropped out of the playoff picture as a result of the Hotshots' win.
Magnolia led by as many as 29 points, with the Hotshots pulling away late in the fourth quarter after NLEX cut the deficit to single digits in the second half.
“It’s all about our perseverance and desire. We know na this is the game na kailangan namin in order for us to have a chance sa playoffs. And I’m very happy dahil nag-respond ‘yung mga players ko. We’ve learned a lot sa mga mistakes namin in the past,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Magnolia also welcomed the return of Ian Sangalang, who had nine points in his first game back from a wrist injury.
NLEX’s new import Oluseyi Ashaolu, who will be suiting up for the Road Warriors in the Governors’ Cup, had 31 points and 12 rebounds while Mac Tallo added 19 points as their squad finished the disappointing conference with a 2-9 win-loss record.
Magnolia 116 – Chism 27, Lee 21, Barroca 15, Ramos 11, Brondial 10, Jalalon 10, Sangalang 9, Mendoza 5, Melton 3, Dela Rosa 2, Reavis 2, Herndon 1, Abundo 0, Simon 0.
NLEX 89 – Ashaolu 31, Tallo 19, Buenafe 12, Quinahan 9, Ighalo 6, Soyud 6, Uyloan 3, Tiongson 2, Baguio 1, Marcelo 0, Taulava 0, Rios 0, Gotladera 0.
Quarters: 34-18; 54-40; 85-77; 116-89.