MAGNOLIA continued its stellar start to the conference, blasting NorthPort, 109-91, on Sunday in the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Nick Rakocevic showed up in his usual efficient form with 26 points and 14 rebounds to lift the Chicken Timplados Hotshots to their fifth win in as many outingsfor a one-game lead over the Bay Area Dragons.
Mark Barroca added 13 points and eight assists in a game where the Hotshots led by as many as 21 points against a NorthPort side that didn't look as competitive as it as in past games without the veteran Arwind Santos.
Magnolia wasn’t seriously threatened even after giving up the first five points of the contest.
“We’ve only had two good starts this conference which is the NLEX game and this game although we were 0-5 (to start the game),” said Magnolia assistant coach Jason Webb. “But that’s something that coach Chito has been talking about. We have to start strong in the games."
Ian Sangalang also returned from a case of typhoid fever as he churned out 10 points and four rebounds, while Jio Jalalon also had 10 points and seven assists including a buzzer-beating three to end the third for an 85-65 lead.
The Hotshots started out the fourth with a commanding 87-66 advantage, the largest gap of the game, and never looked back.
Kevin Ferrer had 19 points, while Robert Bolick added 15 points, but NorthPort dropped to 3-3.
Magnolia 109 – Rakocevic 26, Barroca 13, Ahanmisi 10, Jalalon 10, Sangalang 10, Corpuz 9, Lee 7, Abueva 6, Dela Rosa 6, Escoto 5, Dionisio 3, Wong 2, Mendoza 0, Reavis 0, Laput 0.
NorthPort 91 – Ferrer 19, Bolick 15, Ibeh 11, Tolentino 11, Ayaay 10, Balanza 8, Salado 6, Chan 5, Sumang 3, Calma 2, Taha 1, Caperal 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 30-20; 56-39; 85-65; 109-91.