With Magnolia doing Magnolia things, the front-running Hotshots gave San Miguel Beer’s high-caliber reinforcement Shabazz Muhammad a rude PBA welcome.
The Hotshots, flashing their old defensive-savvy and efficient selves in a marquee encounter, beat the debuting Muhammad and the Beermen, 104-87, to firm up their solo lead at 7-1 in the Governors’ Cup Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Magnolia reinforcement Mike Harris punched in 26 to go with 13 rebounds as he had the last laugh in his matchup with former NBA player Muhammad, who posted 27 plus 17 boards in his maiden game for SMB (5-4).
Lee matched Harris’ output of 26 while Mark Barroca contributed 12 apiece and Jio Jalalon added 10-7-5 in the bounceback to their 101-103 shocker to NorthPort last Thursday.
“It’s a character game for us (from the loss to NorthPort),” said Coach Chito Victolero after the victory witnessed by 3,561 fans.
“Pinag-usapan namin just try to move forward. We knew we had a bad start last game and though we finished strong, kinapos pa rin. So going into this game we talked about starting strong and finishing stronger.”
Lee kickstarted Magnolia’s charge as he unleashed a 15-point spree in the second quarter to lead the team to a 57-44 tear.
Coming out of the break, Harris asserted himself more to steer the squad to a bigger 81-62 margin and provided a steady presence amid whatever rally SMB attempted.