PAUL Lee fired 28 points as Magnolia Pambansang Manok hacked out a 92-78 win over Meralco on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Magnolia vs Meralco Game 2 recap
Lee carried most of the offensive load for the Hotshots and that was all they needed to take command in a best-of-seven playoff that was once again marred by physical and verbal exchanges by the two sides.
Calvin Abueva and Cliff Hodge were each called for flagrant fouls penalty one on separate occasions following a battle for positioning inside the shaded lane between the two parties.
Hodge was eventually ejected from the game as he had already incurred a technical foul prior to the flagrant foul that occurred in the third period.
Nards Pinto and Rome Dela Rosa also had a verbal exchange in the fourth quarter, and were penalized with technical fouls in a game that saw Raymond Almazan and Magnolia coach Chito Victolero being slapped with technical fouls in Game 1 for taunting.
Almazan also left the game in the second half owing to an injury.
Ian Sangalang also delivered in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds to maintain its gap with Meralco, which also lost Raymond Almazan in the game due to an injury.
Abueva also finished with a double-double, pouring in 12 points and 11 rebounds as he also made his presence felt in the fourth period in which the Hotshots were able to increase their lead.
“Pinaghandaan naming lahat ng puwede nilang gawin ng options especially in their defense. Alam naman namin na this is a defensive battle, and also ‘yung execution namin offense, tumutok din kami diyan,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
“It’s a team effort and I’m very happy and I’m very proud because of the commitment na binibigay nila sa depensa namin at saka sa effort na binibigay nila,” said Victolero.
Magnolia made a move as it finished the second period with 11 straight points capped by a three-point play and triple by Lee to gain the lead at the half, 38-36, and widen the gap to six to start the third, 42-36, to secure momentum.
Shortly thereafter, things began to get chippy with Abueva called for a flagrant foul after his foot landed into the groin area of Hodge during a rebound battle in the 9:04 mark of the third. Abueva and Hodge were also called with technical fouls during the skirmish.
Later in that same quarter, Hodge was also called with a flagrant foul when his foot hit the head of Abueva, causing his ejection.
Chris Newsome had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Pinto and Reynel Hugnatan each had 12 points as the Bolts remain winless in the series.
Magnolia 92 – Lee 28, Sangalang 16, Abueva 11, Dela Rosa 8, Melton 6, Reavis 6, Corpuz 4, Barroca 4, Jalalon 4, Dionisio 3, Pascual 2.
Meralco 78 – Newsome 18, Pinto 12, Hugnatan 12, Belo 7, Quinto 7, Maliksi 7, Almazan 6, Caram 4, Hodge 3, Jose 2, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 13-13; 38-36; 64-58; 92-78.
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