Defensive-minded Magnolia shows offensive might to beat Meralco

The Hotshots just proved that they are more than just a very good defensive team.

Paul Lee leads Magnolia's offensive show (PBA Images)

In a rare display of offensive force, Magnolia unleashed a blistering third quarter assault to shake off a gritty Meralco side, 108-96, and put its bid for a quarterfinals bonus back on track in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, Nov. 27

The Hotshots fired on all cylinders and just couldn’t miss in that back-breaking third quarter rally that saw them drop 47 points – the most by any team in a quarter in the past six years – to build a massive 19-point lead which they managed to protect until the buzzer.

Magnolia, which absorbed its second loss in the conference against Bay Area last game, vented its ire on Meralco to improve to a 9-2 record and solidify its place in the second spot of the standings.

Paul Lee dropped 11 of his 27 points in that huge third quarter built on five triples while Calvin Abueva provided the energy on both ends of the floor with 17 points.

Nick Rakocevic was also steady with a double-double output of 20 points and 17 rebounds while Mark Barroca added 11 points and six assists. Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang also had their share with

Despite the huge scoring from the Hotshots, assistant coach Jason Webb still credited the team’s defense that allowed them to get to their offensive rhythm in the third frame after getting outplayed by the Bolts late in the first half.

“It’s a crazy stat, they turned the ball over seven times and they (Hotshots) scored 17 points out of those turnovers so hindi lang two point yung nasushoot namin kapag nagtuturnover sila. I think in four possessions we hit treys. These guys, they feed off from their defense,” said Webb whose Hotshots now only need to win their final game against Rain or Shine to secure the twice-to-beat edge.

Only up by one, 61-60, Magnolia put on the clamps on Meralco to fuel a 17-3 run that established a 15-point lead, 78-63. It was all Hotshots from there as the lead even reached its peak at 21, 95-74, early in the final frame.

KJ McDaniels dropped 32 points and nine rebounds but were not enough to carry the Bolts who lost Allein Maliksi in the first half after getting thrown out due to a flagrant foul penalty 1 and technical foul, and Raymond Almazan who went down with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.

Fortunately for the Bolts, they remain in contention for a playoff spot but they have to sweep the rest of their two games to do so.