NICK Rakocevic showed no signs of an injury suffered in his previous game, leading Magnolia Chicken Timplados to a 111-97 win over NLEX on Wednesday in the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Rakocevic scored 36 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Magnolia in his first match since receiving the good news that he didn’t suffer any serious injury when Jackson Corpuz landed on his right knee in a freak accident.
The win continued Magnolia’s winning run to four games to remain on top of the team standings in the conference as NLEX slumped to 2-2 while remaning winless under new coach Frankie Lim.
Chito Victolero still called the shots for Magnolia despite coming off surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon. He went to the game riding a mobility scooter, and sat on the bench all game long.
The sacrifice of Victolero and Rakocevic went a long way for the team, according to Magnolia assistant coach Jason Webb.
“I think the combination of composure and the appreciation for sacrifice is what carried us in this game,” said Webb, who took over in the postgame press conference in lieu of Victolero.
“If you look from top to bottom, you have coach Chito coming over here after an operation three days ago, we have guys who have typhoid fever coming here, Nick was only able to practice one day. As a team, everyone appreciates the effort.”
Jio Jalalon contributed 18 opoints and eight assists while Mark Barroca tallied 16 points in a game where Magnolia led by as many as 22 points at 90-68.
Kevin Alas and Justin Chua each had 16 points, as Earl Clark delivered 15 points and 10 rebounds for NLEX.
Magnolia 111 – Rakocevic 36, Jalalon 18, Barroca 16, Lee 9, Corpuz 8, Dionisio 8, Ahanmisi 4, Reavis 3, Abueva 3, Wong 2, Zaldivar 2, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, Escoto 0.
NLEX 97 – Chua 16, Alas 16, Clark 15, Ganuelas-Rosser 15, Trollano 12, Nieto 7, Fonacier 6, Ighalo 6, Varilla 3, Miranda 1, Celda 0.
Quarters: 34-23; 58-48; 86-65; 111-97.