In a stunning turnaround, Magnolia completely dominated NLEX in the second half, transforming what was once a close game into a resounding 99-72 victory in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Friday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Tyler Bey and Mark Barroca were the stars of the show, leading the Hotshots to their second 25-point win in three games.
Despite trailing at halftime, Magnolia showcased their prowess and improved their league-best record to 5-0.
Bey contributed 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Barroca impressed with 19 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Together with Jio Jalalon, they took control of the game in the third quarter, where they outscored the Road Warriors 30-14 and built a commanding 74-60 lead.
Jalalon nearly achieved a triple-double with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals, while James Laput added 16 points in his fifth consecutive start. Paul Lee also chipped in with 14 points. Despite a slow start due to a long break, the Hotshots managed to overcome their rust and secure the victory.
Magnolia found themselves trailing 54-50 early in the third quarter, but a pair of consecutive three-pointers from Lee sparked an impressive 18-2 run that completely shifted the momentum of the game.
In the second half, the Hotshots dominated their opponents, outscoring them 55-26.
NLEX’s new import, Stokley Chaffee Jr., made a strong impression in his debut with an impressive stat line of 23 points, 19 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. However, despite his efforts, NLEX couldn’t maintain their energy and fell short as the Road Warriors failed to reach 100 points for the first time.
Before the game, NLEX had been averaging 110.5 points, which was the second-highest in the league at that time.
The drop in scoring could be attributed to the Road Warriors still adjusting after the departure of Thomas Robinson, who had been averaging 34.5 points but was sent home for taking an unplanned vacation and missing practices.
Aside from Chaffee Jr., Kris Rosales was the only other NLEX player to reach double figures with 15 points.