PBA: Magnolia deals NLEX its second straight loss

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2018 09:30 PM

Paul Lee led the way for Magnolia against NLEX. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – A career-best effort from NLEX rookie Kiefer Ravena was not enough, as the Magnolia Hotshots downed the Road Warriors, 105-94, in their 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup showdown on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ravena torched the Hotshots for 31 points, the most in his young professional career, but the Road Warriors had no answer for the hot shooting of Magnolia as they dropped their second straight game.

Paul Lee was at the forefront of Magnolia's charge as he fired 21 points, making four of his six three-pointers to lead the Hotshots to their second win in a row.

At 3-1, Magnolia is now at solo second just behind defending All-Filipino champion San Miguel, which is unbeaten at 3-1.

"It's all about effort, especially in the second half," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "We just tried to be mentally tough sa dulo, because we know that NLEX can come back at any time."

Magnolia set the tone of the game in the opening quarter, when they knocked down five three-pointers and established a 30-18 advantage. Though NLEX managed to trim the deficit to eight, 51-43, at the half, the Hotshots re-established control in the third frame.

With Lee waxing hot, Magnolia surged to its biggest lead, 71-48. 

Ravena led an NLEX run that managed to cut down the Hotshots' lead to 13 points, 74-68, with four minutes left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Road Warriors, they ended the period on a poor note, as back-to-back turnovers by Kevin Alas allowed the Hotshots to build an 85-68 lead heading into the final quarter.

Alas made up for his earlier miscues by sparking an 11-2 NLEX run to open the payoff period, with his three-pointer making it an eight-point game, 87-79, with still 9:17 left to play.

But that would be the closest that NLEX would get. Jiovani Jalalon helped restore order with a three-point play, and Rome dela Rosa converted an and-1 of his own to give Magnolia a double-digit cushion again, 97-85. He added a jumper over Ravena in the post to make it 99-85 with 5:43 to go.

The Road Warriors unraveled from that point, with veteran forward JR Quiñahan twice bricking jumpers and Michael Miranda agonizingly missing a wide-open lay-up. Quiñahan ended his night on the bench, after being called for a flagrant foul on dela Rosa with just 2:38 to go.

Dela Rosa finished with 14 points, and rookie Robert Herndon scored 11 points, all in the first frame for Magnolia. The Hotshots had a whopping 61-42 rebounding edge over the Road Warriors, and finished the game with 10 three-point conversions.

Quiñahan had 22 points of his own while adding 10 rebounds. Alas finished with 13 markers, but the Road Warriors were unable to overcome their woeful shooting from beyond the arc, as they made only five of 24 triples, and were clobbered by the Hotshots on the boards.

NLEX dropped to 2-2, and have yet to win in the new year.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 105 - Lee 21, Dela Rosa 14, Herndon 11, Ramos 11, Simon 9, Jalalon 9, Melton 7, Pingris 7, Sangalang 5, Barroca 5, Reavis 4, Gamalinda 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0.

NLEX 94 - Ravena 31, Quinahan 22, Alas 13, Miranda 9, Fonacier 8, Mallari 5, Baguio 4, Tiongson 2, Rios 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Gotladera 0.

Quarter scores: 30-18, 51-43, 85-68, 105-94

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.