After yielding a lot in the first half, Magnolia fought for every possession in the second half and scored a 103-90 victory over NorthPort that forced a three-way logjam at sixth place in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Hotshots clamped down on defense and drew tremendous energy on their defensive stoppages as they pummeled the Batang Pier, 50-31, in the last 24 minutes of play.
It was rollercoaster ride for the Hotshots that ended in a crucial win and forged a three-way tie at sixth place with the NLEX Road Warriors and the Alaska Milk Aces at 4-5.
“We allowed them to score 59 points in the first half but we limited them to 31 in the second half. And that’s the story of the game,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
In making the necessary adjustments in the second half, the Hotshots added to the woes of the Batang Pier who went down with a sixth straight loss after a 2-0 start in the all-Filipino tourney.
Though bruised and battered in a highly physical battle, Paul Lee played on and led all scorers with 24 points, including six three-pointers.
Magnolia 103 – Lee 24, Sangalang 20, Brondial 14, Jalalon 11, Barroca 11, Melton 11, Dela Rosa 5, Reavis 5, Herndon 2, Pascual 0.
Northport 90 – Anthony 22, Tautuaa 19, Pringle 15, Grey 14, Lanete 8, Guinto 4, Elorde 3, Bolick 3, Taha 2, Gabayni 0, Sollano 0.
Quarterscores: 33-25, 53-59, 76-82, 103-90.