Magnolia outscored Rain or Shine in the payoff period by 22 points to turn a close game into a lopsided affair and win with plenty to spare, 106-90, Friday night in the final day of the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Trailing for most of the match, the Hotshots unloaded a 14-2 run halfway into the final frame to establish a 12-point advantage, 97-85, and cruise all the way to their 10th victory in 12 outings and along with it the much-coveted twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, failed in their bid to clinch an outright spot in the next round and settled for a knockout tiff with NLEX for the 8th and last spot and the unenviable task of taking on the top-seeded Bay Area Dragons in the opening round of the playoffs.
Nick Rakocevic led the 2014 PBA Grand Slam champs with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 13 boards in 24 minutes of action.
“That’s the same story last game and it’s bad going into the playoffs,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero in reference to their previous game against Meralco wherein they were behind for most of the match before going full blast in the 4th quarter.
“We need to change that because the playoffs are a different story. We need to start strong, and finish strong,” he added.
Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang dropped 16 markers apiece while Calvin Abueva and Mark Barroca scored 12 points each. Rome dela Rosa scored 9, all coming from beyond the arc, while Jio Jalalon contributed 6 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists and a steal.
The Hotshots will take on 7th-seeded Phoenix and will need just one win to advance to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2017.
Magnolia 106 – Rakocevic 21, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Abueva 12, Barroca 12, Dela Rosa 9, Jalalon 6, Ahanmisi 6, Mendoza 5, Wong 3, Reavis 0, Corpuz 0, Dionisio 0.
Rain or Shine 90 – Santillan 15, Nambatac 15, Pearson 14, Mamuyac 9, Torres 8, Ponferrada 6, Caracut 6, Nieto 6, Asistio 5, Norwood 4, Demusis 2.
Quarterscores: 24-28, 44-52, 71-77, 106-90.