NICK Rakocevic scored 45 points and grabbed 25 rebounds as Magnolia Chicken Timplados held off Terrafirma, 100-92, on Wednesday in its 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup debut at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Rakocevic marked his PBA debut with a monster double-double which he punctuated with a dunk that all but ended the upset bid by the Dyip, who fought back in the endgame and raised hope of ending a 17-game losing streak.
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His effort surpassed Terrafirma import Lester Prosper’s 43-point, 25-rebound debut in a loss to Converge last week. This time, Prosper's 41 points and 19 rebounds couldn't save Terrafirma from an 18th successive loss.
The Magnolia import proved to be a perfect fit to the team, as what head coach Chito Victolero was saying prior to the conference. He scored the final four points in the Hotshots’ 9-0 closing run that overturned a 92-91 Terrafirma advantage.
“Kita naman natin na he plays on both ends of the floor. He contributes in our defensive schemes and our offense. He is very aggressive. ‘Yung activity level ‘yung gusto namin sa kanya,” said Victolero.
Jio Jalalon added 12 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, while Ian Sangalang had 10 points. Paul Lee tallied nine including a three to start the closing run of the Hotshots, who rested Calvin Abueva.
Juami Tiongson had 19 points and helped Terrafirma overhaul a 15-point deficit. But the Dyip couldn’t nail the big baskets late and fell to 0-2.
Magnolia 100 – Rakocevic 45, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 10, Corpuz 9, Lee 9, Barroca 8, Reavis 2, Wong 2, Dionisio 2, Dela Rosa 1, Ahanmisi 0, Mendoza 0.
Terrafirma 92 – Prosper 41, Tiongson 19, Munzon 8, Cabagnot 6, Cahilig 4, Ramos 4, Gomez de Liano 4, Camson 3, Gabayni 3, Alolino 0, Calvo 0, Mina 0, Balagasay 0.
Quarters: 29-26; 59-54; 80-71; 100-92.