Paul Lee scores 27 as Magnolia pulls away in fourth to even semis series

Magnolia Hotshots even series with NLEX Road Warriors (2:45)

Magnolia Hotshots take a 99-84 win in Game 2 to even their 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series with the NLEX Road Warriors at 1-1 on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena. (2:45)

The Magnolia Hotshots put on a scoring barrage in early minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 99-84 win in Game 2 to even their 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series with the NLEX Road Warriors at 1-1 on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena

After a subpar performance in the series opener, Paul Lee found his stroke and finished with 27 points, making 4-of-9 from downtown. He also added four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Ian Sangalang added 18 points and eight boards, while Rome dela Rosa and Aldrech Ramos each chipped in 10 markers.

The Hotshots shot impressively in the first two quarters as they took a 48-39 lead over the Road Warriors behind a combined 27 points from Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang. NLEX was able to cut the deficit to six early in the third after a three-pointer from Mike Miranda, but Magnolia went on a 10-0 run, capped by a layup from Jio Jalalon, to extend its cushion to 16 points, 64-48, midway through the period.

Alex Mallari and Miranda each knocked down a triple on the Road Warriors' next possessions to make it a 10-point game. After a miss from the Hotshots, Kiefer Ravena assisted on layups by Miranda and Mallari as NLEX came within six, 2:53 left in the third. Aldrech Ramos scored for Magnolia, but Ravena scored four straight points to inch the Road Warriors closer, 66-62. Ramos hit one from beyond the arc and Lee made a split from the line to give Magnolia an eight-point lead after three quarters, 70-62.

The Hotshots opened the final period with seven straight points - four coming from PJ Simon - to establish another double-digit lead, 77-62. Mallari broke the silence for NLEX with a layup but Simon was in the groove, knocking down another three to stretch Magnolia's lead, 80-64, 9:48 remaining. Soyud went perfect from the stripe, but Rome dela Rosa hit another three-pointer for the Hotshots, who remained in control with a 17-point margin.

A jumper from JR Quinahan at the 6:33 mark brought the lead down to a baker's dozen, but Lee converted on two straight Magnolia possessions to put his team back up by 17 points, 87-70. The Road Warriors went on a 6-1 blast to make it a 12-point game, 88-76, 3:24 left in the game. Barroca scored on a pair of free throws and Dela Rosa added two more to give Magnolia a 16-point advantage. NLEX cut it to 14 at the 2:10 mark, but the Hotshots had enough gas in the tank to take the game and score their first win of the series.


MAGNOLIA 99 - Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Pascual 0, Mendoza 0, Gamalinda 0.

NLEX 84 - QuiƱahan 13, Mallari 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Fonacier 6, Alas 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Monfort 0, Ighalo 0.

Quarters: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84.


- Marc Pingris missed his first game after suffering an torn ACL in his left knee in Game 1. According to Magnolia team governor Rene Pardo, Pingris will undergo surgery soon which will be most likely performed by Dr. George Canlas, who operated on Pingris for his first ACL injury.

- Entering the semifinals, Paul Lee was averaging 17.0 points. But the Leethal Weapon had a tough shooting night in Game 1, only finishing with eight markers. Lee, however, bounced back in Game 2. By halftime he had already surpassed his Game 1 point total after scoring 12 in the first 24 minutes.


Game 3 on Wednesday, March 14 at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.