|Paul Lee delivered for the Hotshots in a game where Kiefer Ravena exploded. PBA Media Bureau|
By Dugout Philippines
QUEZON CITY--Paul Lee was never caught up with his highly-anticipated showdown with rookie Kiefer Ravena as the veteran guard went through with business in Magnolia's 105-94 demolition of NLEX Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee fired 12 of his team-high 21 points in a fiery third quarter when the Hotshots pulled away for good on the way to clinching their first back-to-back wins for the season-opening meet.
The 'Angas ng Tondo' was 4-of-6 from three-point range and added three rebounds and four assists to highlight the win made at the expense of Ravena, the sensational rookie of the Road Warriors, whose match-up with Lee served as the highlight of the match.
Ravena finished with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting, had four rebounds, and five assists, but not enough to prevent the Road Warriors from absorbing their second straight loss for an even 2-2 record.
"At least maganda para sa New Year namin, kahit papaano yung first two games namin this year (panalo). Kahit paano maganda yung mindset ng mga players," said coach Chito Victolero, whose Hotshots improved to 3-1 overall for solo second behind unbeaten leader San Miguel (3-0).
"We tried to stop Kiefer, pero gumagawa talaga siya ng paraan to score," he said of the no. 2 overall pick in the last draft. "But at least na-limit namin yung ibang players ng NLEX."
JR Quinahan and Kevin Alas were the only other players to finish in double figures for NLEX with 22, and 13 points, respectively. The Road Warriors were held to just 42 percent shooting (37-of-88).
"We know they're no. 1 in offense and we limit them to 100 points, so that's good for us," added Victolero.
The Hotshots led by as many as 71-48 in the third period, although the Road Warriors managed to cut the deficit to as low as nine several times in the fourth.
But Rome dela Rosa and sophomore Jio Jalalon steadied the ship for Magnolia, scoring seven each in the payoff period to weather the Road Warriors' late comeback.
Frustration eventually mounted on NLEX when Quinahan was whistled for a flagrant foul 1 for hitting dela Rosa on the face in the final 2:38 mark and the Hotshots holding to a 102-87 lead.
Dela Rosa finished with 14 points while rookie Robbie Herndon and Aldrech Ramos had 11 each for Magnolia.
Magnolia 105-Lee 21, Dela Rosa 14, Herndon 11, Ramos 11, Simon 9, Jalalon 9, Melton 7, Pingris 7, Sangalang 5, Barroca 5, Reavis 4, Gamalinda 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0
NLEX 94-Ravena 31, Quinahan 22, Alas 13, Miranda 9, Fonacier 8, Mallari 5, Baguio 4, Tiongson 2, Rios 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Gotladera 0
Quarterscores: 30-18, 51-43, 85-68, 105-94
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