MAGNOLIA finally clinched a victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, beating NLEX, 98-88, on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots overcame a 10-point deficit to claim their first win after three games, while dealing the Road Warriors their sixth defeat in as many games.
James Farr had 24 points and 21 rebounds while Ian Sangalang had 21 points for the Hotshots in a game that saw NLEX coach Yeng Guiao get ejecyed in his first game back following a European vacation.
“I challenged my players before the start of this game. It’s very hard for us to be down again 0-3 just like last conference,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, his voice hoarse.
“I’m proud and happy for my players because they stepped up to the challenge. Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na we need to have that sense of urgency, to have that proper mindset and bring back the old Magnolia Hotshots basketball which is our defense.”
Farr and Sangalang took turns in scoring inside as Magnolia grabbed a 79-73 lead early in the fourth. Baskets by Jio Jalalon and Justin Melton gave the Hotshots a 85-76 lead that held to the end.
Magnolia also spoiled the comeback of Jericho Cruz, who had six points including a basket that made it 55-45 for NLEX in his first game since being acquired in a trade with TNT.
NLEX import Tony Mitchell had 22 points and 13 rebounds against his former team.
Magnolia 98 – Farr 24, Sangalang 21, Lee 11, Jalalon 10, Barroca 7, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 5, Brondial 4, Herndon 3, Simon 2, Pascual 0.
NLEX 88 – Mitchell 22, Ighalo 14, Quinahan 12, Lao 8, Erram 7, Cruz 6, Galanza 5, Paredes 4, Paniamogan 3, Rios 2, Tiongson 2, Baguio 0, Varilla 0.
Quarters: 27-29; 45-49; 73-71; 98-88.