Lee, Sangalang power Magnolia past Rain or Shine for 1-0 QF series lead

Paul Lee stepped up in the payoff period as the Magnolia Hotshots secured Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals series against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 81-70, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The 3rd-seeded Hotshots made the decisive breakaway in the third quarter behind their stifling defense which limited the 6th-seeded Elasto Painters to just eight points.

Lee, who scored only 1 point in the first half, came up big in the fourth quarter by scoring 13 of his team-high 20 points.

“Pinaghandaan talaga naming itong game. We worked on our execution on both ends of the floor that’s why we kept on grinding.”, said coach Chito Victolero who also stressed the importance of clinching a victory in an opener to gain momentum.

Pampanga native Ian Sangalang chipped in 19 points and 13 rebounds with 8 markers coming in the third period.

The Elasto Painters led 52-47 at the half but the tides turned after Magnolia took control in the third quarter with a 10-0 outburst and took the lead, 50-44 all the way to the fourth. Coach Victolero stated that they kept on executing even though they are trailing in the first half. And they succeeded.

Jio Jalalon and Rome Dela Rosa contributed 10 points each while Calvin Abueva had eight points and 13 rebounds for the Hotshots.

Leonard Santillan, who helped keep Rain or Shine in the match during the fourth quarter, paced the team with 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds.

The rookie out of La Salle scored a triple to cut the deficit to 73-67 but that was the last stand of the Elasto Painters in the contest as Lee and Sangalang controlled the closure.

Magnolia had a dismal 5/23 (21%) shooting from beyond the arc against Rain or Shine’s 12/35 (34%) clip but outrebounded the losing team, 66-43.

The scores:

Magnolia 81 – Lee 20, Sangalang 19, Jalalon 10, Dela Rosa 10, Abueva 8, Barroca 8, Corpuz 4, Pascual 2, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0.

Rain or Shine 70 – Santillan 17, Nambatac 16, Mocon 11, Belga 8, Borboran 5, Norwood 3, Caracut 3, Ponferada 3, Yap 2, Torres 2, Wong 0, Asistio 0.

Quarterscores: 21-16, 37-42, 60-50, 81-70.

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