Magnolia rallied behind injured teammates Marc Pingris and Justine Melton as the two served as inspiration in the Hotshots’ 99-84 win over NLEX to level their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Monday night.
Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang came out firing from the get-go and got the Hotshots on the attack mode right away.
Veteran Peter June Simon then sustained the effort by scoring all of his eight points in the payoff period to keep the Road Warriors’ repeated rallies.
Lee finished with a game-high 27 points while Sangalang had 15 of his 18 points in the first half for the Hotshots, who lost out Pingris to an ACL injury for the rest of the season, and Melton to a possible hamstring injury that could kept him out of the best-of-seven series now tied at 1-1.
As tribute to the 35-year-old Pingris, the Hotshots wore a patch bearing his no. 15 jersey on top of their playing uniform.
“Yung inspiration na nabibigay niya sa amin, yun ang malaki,” said coach Chito Victolero, referring to his veteran big man. “Every now and then nagte-text si Ping at sinasabi niya na gawin itong laro para sa buong team.”
Magnolia 99 — Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Mendoza 0.
NLEX 84 — Mallari 13, Quiñahan 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Alas 6, Fonacier 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Ighalo 0, Monfort 0.
Quarterscores: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84.