Paul Lee, Magnolia cruise past injury-hit Meralco to take 2-0 semis lead

Paul Lee fired 28 points as Magnolia moved closer to its first PBA Finals appearance since the 2019 edition of the All-Filipino conference after conquering Meralco, 92-78, Wednesday night in Game 2 of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The 2018 PBA Governor’s Cup Best Player of the Conference finished with 50% shooting from the field spiked by 5 made baskets from beyond the arc.

Ian Sanggalang and Calvin Abueva each recorded double-double performances for the 2014 PBA Grand Slam Champs.

Sanggalang posted 16 points and 10 rebounds while Abueva tallied 11 markers and 11 boards. Rome Dela Rosa added 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal.

“Actually pinaghandaan na namin lahat eh. Lahat ng pwede nilang gawin na options, especially their defense. Alam naman namin na this is a defensive battle. And also yung execution namin on our offense, tumutok rin kami dyan,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

“Halos lahat naman ng players of Meralco, nagcocontribute eh. So wala kaming pwedeng piliin. From Chris Newsome down to John Pinto, talaga yang mga 12 players na yan ay nagcocontribute. It’s a team effort na ginawa namin. And I’m very happy and very proud to my players because of the commitment na ibinibigay nila sa depensa namin. At tsaka sa effort na binibigay nila,” he added.

The Bolts led by as many as 12 points in the 2nd period but they were unable to even the series as they fell into the hands of the 14-time PBA Champs.

Chris Newsome paced the Norman Black-mentored squad with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 7 assists while Reynel Hugnatan and John Pinto racked up 12 points apiece. Mac Belo had a rough night as he only scored 10 points on 14% shooting from the floor.

The scores:

Magnolia 92 – Lee 28, Sangalang 16, Abueva 11, Dela Rosa 8, Melton 6, Jalalon 4, Reavis 6, Corpuz 4, Barroca 4, Dionisio 3, Pascual 2.

Meralco 78 – Newsome 18, Hugnatan 12, Pinto 12, Quinto 7, Belo 7, Almazan 6, Caram 4, Hodge 3, Maliksi 7, Jose 2, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0.

Quarterscores : 13-13, 38-26, 64-58, 92-78.

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