Paul Lee bucked early fouls and delivered a lethal assault in the crunch as the pacesetting Magnolia Hotshots roared on and gained an outright PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs passage with an 85-80 decision over the San Miguel Beermen Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Limited to 28 minutes due to early foul-trouble situation, Lee still dished out a solid performance capped by an eight-point flurry in the last 90 seconds, bailing the Hotshots out of trouble in a tight duel with the Beermen.
From their 77-76 edge, Lee banged away back-to-back treys, and later tossed in the insurance free throws as the Hotshots clinched a playoff slot with their eighth win in nine outings.
“I just let it fly, and luckily pumasok, and it gave us the cushion,” said Lee of his three-point bombs highlighting his 14-point game laced with three rebounds and two assists against two turnovers and four quick fouls.
“We shared the ball, kaya nakakuha ng open shots and baskets from drop passes,” Lee also said on their attack heavily anchored on Nick Rakocevic who came through with 26 points and 28 rebounds.
Ian Sangalang had his own double-double with 12 markers and 14 boards with Mark Barroca chipping in 12 points for the Hotshots who are back in the lead in the race for top two and a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarters.
Behind them are Bay Area and Converge at 8-2.