Magnolia punches first ticket to PBA PH Cup finals

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NO field goal for the entire game. Did not start the game as he normally would. But for the “Lee-thal Weapon,” no problem.

Despite hitting only four points, all from the 15-foot line, Paul Lee got enough support from the team’s role players, their so-called “second group,” as the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots outlasted the Meralco Bolts, 93-85, to punch the first ticket to the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) gym in Bacolor, Pampanga .

It was also perhaps the best game for Ian Sangalang, voted Best Player of the Game. Sangalang was on fire, hitting a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, coupled with six dimes, as he took command for his team in the fourth quarter and bamboozled the Bolts’ defense, who threw practically everything to stop him as Sangalang kept charging to the hoop.

Noteworthy to mention are the Hotshots’ players who provided the much-needed relief to make life a bit easier for the main group. Calvin Abueva, Justin Melton, Rome dela Rosa, Jio Jalalon, and the reliable Rafi Reavis, all did their share and rose up to the challenge as Lee was obviously in a shooting slump from the field.

The Pambansang Manok lost new acquisition Calvin Abueva to fouls in the last four minutes of the game, same as the Bolts’ Allein Maliksi, but that didn’t matter anymore.

The Bolts got off to a hot start where they led 11-0 in the first few minutes of the first quarter. But by the end of the second half when the Hotshots took command, 44-40, it was all Hotshots from there until the final buzzer.

The Hotshots will take a few more days rest as they await the winner of the other semis tiff between San Miguel Beer and the TNT Tropang GIGA, who are tied at three games apiece after SMB ran the Tropa to the ground, 103-90, in the first game.

.The two will lock horns in a winner-take-all game on Sunday at the DHVSU gym at 4:35 p.m.


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