KIEFER Ravena won the individual matchup, but Paul Lee’s team won the game.
Lee had the last laugh against Ravena on Sunday night as Magnolia frustrated NLEX, 105-94, to get a winning streak going in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Lee registered 21 points, four assists, and three boards – numbers that pale a bit in comparison to those of Ravena, who shone with a career-high 31 markers, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals in a matchup between past and present playmakers of Yeng Guiao.
But it was Lee’s squad that prevailed as the Hotshots built a sizeable lead then shrugged off a rally by the Road Warriors in the payoff period on the way to back-to-back wins - and their third in four games - for solo second spot behind unbeaten San Miguel Beer.
Magnolia also broke a tie with NLEX, which dropped to an even 2-2 win-loss record.
“It’s all about our effort especially in the second half,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said. “We just tried to be mentally tough sa dulo. We knew NLEX can come back anytime.”
“We tried to stop Kiefer, but nakagawa siya ng paraan. But I’m very glad na na-limit namin yung iba,” he added.
After all, only JR Quiñahan and Kevin Alas were the other Road Warriors who scored in double digits. Quiñahan put up 22 points, while Alas added 13 markers, including three on a triple from the right wing that pulled NLEX to within eight points, 79-87, after trailing by as many as 23 points, 48-71, early in the third quarter.
The Hotshots, however, stopped the Road Warriors in their tracks, embarking on an 18-8 run capped by a Justin Melton layup that gave Magnola another comfortable 105-87 lead on the way to the wire-to-wire victory.
Romeo dela Rosa provided a huge offensive boost for Magnolia, chipping in 14 points – all in the last three quarters – along with four boards, and two assists in almost 30 minutes off the bench, while Aldrech Ramos and rookie Robbie Herndon added 11 markers apiece.
MAGNOLIA 105 - Lee 21, Dela Rosa 14, Herndon 11, Ramos 11, Jalalon 9, Simon 9, Melton 7, Pingris 7, Barroca 5, Sangalang 5, Reavis 4, Gamalinda 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0
NLEX 94 – Ravena 31, Quiñahan 22, Alas 13, Miranda 9, Fonacier 8, Mallari 5, Baguio 4, Tiongson 2, Al-Hussaini 0, Gotladera 0, Rios 0
Quarterscores: 30-18, 51-43, 85-68, 105-94