SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Ian Sangalang took charge as the streaking Magnolia thwarted NorthPort, 83-76, to keep its bid for a twice-to-beat advantage alive Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Arena.
With Paul Lee taking a step back, Sangalang pumped in 23 points and nine boards as the Hotshots subdued the Batang Pier’s late rally for a fifth straight win and a three-way tie at No. 4 with a 6-4 slate.
Lee, who averaged 29 points in the past three outings, only managed to chip in 14 markers but had eight assists and six rebounds.
Jackson Corpuz, Rome Dela Rosa and rookie Aris Dionisio added 10 points apiece for Magnolia, which clawed its way back from a 1-4 start in the bubble season.
With the Hotshots having a chance to nab a top four spot, coach Chito Victolero wants his wards to focus on their last game in the eliminations against Blackwater on Wednesday.
“Ang tanging kontrol namin is our game on Wednesday. No matter what happens sa ibang teams, ‘di na namin kontrolado ‘yun,” said Victolero.
Magnolia mounted a 20-point lead, 76-56, on Sangalang’s three-point play early in the final frame.
But NorthPort threatened within 76-80 as Kevin Ferrer and Sean Manganti joined forces to spark a 20-4 run.
Sangalang came to the rescue, banking in a tough layup against Ferrer, 82-76, with 2:01 left before the Hotshots held on to the result.
Christian Standhardinger’s double-double of 18 points and 17 rebounds along with Ferrer’s 18 markers went down the drain as NorthPort absorbed its fourth consecutive defeat and fell to 1-8.
The Batang Pier already bowed out of contention following Blackwater’s 82-71 loss to Rain or Shine earlier.
MAGNOLIA 83 – Sangalang 23, Lee 14, Corpuz 10, Dela Rosa 10, Dionisio 10, Jalalon 6, Calisaan 4, Barroca 4, Banchero 2, Melton 0, Reavis 0.
NORTHPORT 76 – Standhardinger 18, Ferrer 18, Cruz 8, Nabong 8, Elorde 7, Manganti 6, Subido 5, Taha 3, Revilla 3, Lanete 0, Guinto 0.
Quarters: 24-15, 42-36, 70-56, 83-76