Magnolia Hotshots 99 – NLEX Road Warriors 84, Series tied 1-1
Hours before the second game of the semifinals series against the NLEX Road Warriors, the Magnolia Hotshots confirmed the news that Marc Pingris will be out for an extended period due to an ACL tear. Playing for their injured leader, the Hotshots routed the NLEX Road Warriors to tie the series.
The Road Warriors were plucky to start the game. Buoyed by their win in the first game, they started off the game strong as their outside shots were falling. But Magnolia wouldn’t let the game slip away again. They powered their way in the paint with Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang leading the way. Lee was a bowling ball on offense, just barreling through whoever was in front of him. Sangalang used his deft post moves to score inside. Magnolia took several double-digit leads in the second quarter before settling for a nine-point lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, Lee sparked a run to increase the Hotshots lead to double-digits. He nailed a three-pointer from the right wing and shook his head defiantly as the shot fell through. The Hotshots took a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter. Sensing danger, the Road Warriors answered back with a 14-4 run to cut the lead down to just four points.
But the Hotshots wouldn’t allow NLEX to get any closer. Aldrech Ramos hit a big three-pointer to restore order before the third quarter ended. Then PJ Simon opened the fourth quarter with a personal 8-0 run to extend the lead back up to 16. He buried a midrange jumper and then followed it up with back-to-back treys as the Hotshots pulled away for good.
Lee exploded for 27 points, three assists and three steals after being held to just eight points in the first game. Sangalang dominated the paint with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca combined for 20 points to make up for the absence of Justin Melton who’s out with a hamstring injury.