MAGNOLIA delivered when it mattered as it frustrated Phoenix, 97-91, on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome to sustain its momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Hotshots erased a five-point deficit inside the last three minutes as they proved steadier than the Fuel Masters to pull off the hard-earned win.
Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang came through at the crunch time, while Rafi Reavis also came up with some timely plays for the Hotshots, who claimed their fourth win in five games to tighten their grip on the second spot.
The Hotshots also deal the Fuel Masters their third loss in five games.
“We expected this kind of game,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said. “Thankful ako sa mga players na hindi sila nag-give up sa pressure, and it was our mental toughness that led us to the win.”
Lee showed the way with 21 points built around four triples, despite needing 14 shots in all to reach his total as he complemented his scoring with five assists in 32 minutes, scoring hitting four free throws down the stretch to keep the Fuel Masters at bay.
Sangalang added 16 points and seven rebounds, scoring on the turnaround stab the put the Hotshots up for good at 91-89 after they trailed by as many as 10 points, 67-77, early in the payoff period.
Rome dela Rosa continued his surprising offensive contributions as he chipped in 17 points and four caroms in 23 minutes, while Reavis added 11 points, 11 boards, three blocks, and two assists.
Marc Pingris own the paint as he hauled down 17 rebounds that went along with four points, four assists, and two blocks in almost 36 minutes off the bench.
The result spoiled an solid showing from Gelo Alolino, who led Phoenix with 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
MAGNOLIA 97 – Lee 20, Dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Barroca 12, Reavis 11, Simon 6, Jalalon 5, Pingris 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Herndon 1, Melton 0
PHOENIX 91 – Alolino 19, Wright 17, Chan 12, Jazul 9, Eriobu 8, Chua 7, Mendoza 6, Kramer 6, Intal 3, Revilla 2, Perkins 2, Wilson 0, Dehesa 0
Quarterscores: 30-23, 47-45, 67-75, 97-91