Ending a four-game slump on the road here, the Magnolia Hotshots fly back to Manila Sunday assured of a twice-to-beat incentive in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
In the absence of hometown boy Jio Jalalon in this Petron Blaze Saturday Special at the Xavier U Gym, the rest of the Magnolia team came out and put on a show en route to a 94-65 rout of the hapless Meralco Bolts that guaranteed them of second seeding in the playoff round.
Paul Lee, who’s barely back from an injury, shone brightest with an 18-point final-half explosion, including big buckets in the third period that touched off their breakaway. He finished with a game-high 21 points.
The Hotshots made a big separation in the third period, 68-48, and went roaring in the final period to effectively eliminate the Bolts (4-7) while claiming runner-up honors in the elims behind the San Miguel Beermen.
San Miguel, the reigning all-Filipino three-peat champ, will be the elims top notcher regardless of the result of its match versus Rain or Shine on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
The Beermen and the Hotshots enjoy a crucial twice-to-beat advantage as they tangle with the eighth and the seventh seeds, respectively, in the quarterfinals.