Paul Lee hits stride just in time as Magnolia buries TNT behind second-half onslaught
Paul Lee presided over Magnolia's second-half breakaway. Marlo Cueto

MAGNOLIA put on its running shoes in the second half and ran TNT to the ground in a 111-89 victory to end its three-game losing skid on Wednesday in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.

Paul Lee triggered the second-half breakaway by scoring 17 of his 25 points in the third quarter before speedster Jio Jalalon put the finishing touches to the Hotshots' 22-point rout.

Justin Jackson atoned for his earlier struggles by contributing 18 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists while braving a midsection injury which he sustained in a freak fall on the TNT bench in the third canto.

“Our battlecry is to find ways to win,” shared coach Chito Victolero after Magnolia evened its second to 4-4.

“We’re undermanned. For the last two weeks, we have a different import. We have a problem with chemistry wth our locals and our import, but I told my players, try to find a way to win games and I’m very proud and very happy that they responded to our challenge.”

Trailing by 12 (48-36) at one point, Magnolia went to work after the halftime break, with Lee igniting the 36-point third-quarter storm that gave his side a 79-73 lead.

Jalalon, who had 13 points, six assists, five boards, and four steals, took over from there as the Hotshots' lead balooned to 24 points, 111-87, on Rodney Brondial’s layup in the final 1:34.

Magnolia forced TNT to 21 turnovers for 23 bonus points, and scored 14 points off fastbreaks.

The Hotshots also found the perfect antidote to the hulking Joshua Smith, who was limited to just 12 points and 11 rebounds, as they won the battle of the boards, 55-38, and nabbed 24 second-chance points.

Terrence Romeo paced TNT with 17 points, seven dimes, and four boards off the bench as the KaTropa saw their three-game winning run halted.

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The scores:

MAGNOLIA 111 — Lee 25, Jackson 18, Brondial 16, Jalalon 13, Barroca 9, Ramos 9, Melton 7, Dela Rosa 5, Simon 3, Herndon 2, Pascual 2, Reavis 2.

TNT 89 — Romeo 17, Pogoy 16, Smith 12, Castro 9, Reyes 9, Semerad 7, Williams 6, Rosario 5, Cruz 4, Taha 2, Trollano 2, Carey 0.

Quarters: 18-25, 43-48, 79-73, 111-89.

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