Magnolia turns back Meralco to draw first blood in PBA semis
MANILA, Philippines — The Magnolia Hotshots stymied a comeback try by the second-seed Meralco Bolts to take Game One of their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series, 88-79, at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Sunday.
After squandering a seven-point lead at halftime, the Hotshots bounced back in the fourth salvo to frustrate the Bolts and take the first step toward the finals.
Meralco looked poised to pounce on Magnolia after a third salvo where they outscored the Hotshots, 24-14.
Heading into the final 12 minutes of action, Meralco held a three-point cushion, 64-61.
The lead even ballooned to as big as six, 69-63, for the Norman Black-led squad.
But an 10-0 run from the Hotshots was able to turn the tide in favor of Magnolia anew.
Offense then came few and far between for the Bolts as the Hotshots picked up the gear on offense.
At one point, the Hotshots gained their biggest lead of the match, 88-74 with 1:43 left in the game.
Frustration also seemed to seep in for the Bolts with technicals thrown left and right for Coach Black and the bench as well.
Ian Sangalang paced five Hotshots in double figures with 18 ponts.
Paul Lee chipped in with 17 points while Calvin Abueva scattered 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
For Meralco, it was Bong Quinto who led the way on offense with a double-double of 14 points and 10 assists.
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