Magnolia rode Paul Lee’s hot hands and a couple of welcome breaks in repeating over Meralco 92-78 Wednesday to take a commanding lead in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Lee sizzled for a game-high 28 points, anchored on five triples, and got plenty of help from his teammates as the Hotshots followed up their 88-79 win in the best-of-seven series opener last Sunday.
Now with a 2-0 lead, Magnolia moved closer to a return to the conference finals, a place it has been to in 2018 and 2019. But Lee would rather have his team train its sights mainly on preparing for the next game.
“Ayaw naming i-claim muna. Kumbaga, one game at a time muna kami,” said Lee, who made half of his 18 shots and added two rebounds and three assists in just under 34 minutes of action.
“Siguro, focus muna kami sa tomorrow’s practice kasi iyon ‘yung key,” added the comboa guard. “Kumbaga, ‘yung preparation namin, ‘yung ensayo namin sobrang vital going to the game.”
Ian Sangalang contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Calvin Abueva had his own double-double with 11 markers and 11 boards and Magnolia’s job got easier when Meralco bigs Raymond Almazan and Cliff Hodge made early exits in the game.