Magnolia solidified hold of second spot with its third win in a row after fending off Phoenix, 97-91 in the 43rd PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday night.
The Hotshots improved to 4-1, trailing the unbeaten San Miguel (4-0) while the Fuel Masters dropped to 2-3 midway through the All Filpino conference.
Magnolia actually trailed by double digits early in the final canto, 67-77 but unleashed its championship composure down the wire behind breakout star Ian Sangalang who stole the lead for the Hotshots, 91-89 lead for good.
Lee, who nailed four free throws in the clutch, then took care of the rest with his finishing capabilities en route to their third straight win.
He finished with a game-high 20 points while Sangalang alongside with Rafi Reavis hold the fort for the Hotshots.
Sangalang tallied 16 points and 7 rebounds while the returning Reavis had a solid double double of 11 markers, 11 boards and 3 blocks.
Magnolia defensive lynchpin Rome Dela Rosa also provided key offensive contributions with 17 markers while team captain Marc Pingris had 4 points and 17 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Phoenix failed to sustain its near mastery of the Hotshots as it crumbled down the line even with a twin digit lead in the payoff period.
Looking like a team on a mission after suffering a 120-99 annihilation from Rain or Shine last game, the Fuel Masters dipped to 2-3 record instead despite a breakout game of 19 points from Gelo Alolino.
Magnolia collides with TNT on January 27 while Phoenix takes on Barangay Ginebra on January 26.
Both games will be held in the Big Dome.
Magnolia Hotshots 97 – Lee 20, Dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Barroca 12, Reavis 11, Simon 6, Jalalon 5, Pingris 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Herndon 1, Melton 0.
Phoenix Fuel Masters 91 – Alolino 19, Wright 17, Chan 12, Jazul 9, Eriobu 8, Chua 7, Mendoza 6, Kramer 6, Intal 3, Revilla 2, Perkins 2, Wilson 0, Dehesa 0.
Quarters: 30-23, 47-45, 67-75, 97-91.