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Jalalon explodes as Magnolia takes 2-1 semis lead vs NLEX

Jio Jalalon blasted off for 25 markers. Nikki Collantes
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Jio Jalalon had the best game of his PBA right when Magnolia needed a boost at the backdoor in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

Jalalon scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead the Hotshots to a 106-99 win over the NLEX Road Warriors in Game 3 of their Philippine Cup semifinal match-up at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

However, it was Magnolia's defensive effort down the stretch that mattered as the team held off NLEX in the fourth quarter after letting the latter stay in pace in the first three quarters.

The Road Warriors actually took a 27-24 lead after one as both teams went firing from the start.

The Hotshots, however, somehow contained the Road Warriors in the second quarter as the latter began to fizzle from deep while the former's hot three-point shooting continued.

NLEX put up a fight again in the third quarter, even taking the lead, 78-77, late in the period before a PJ Simon shot in the last play of the quarter put Magnolia up, 79-78.

The Hotshots finally shut down the Road Warriors in the final canto, limiting them to only 21 points as Ian Sangalang took over for the Hotshots offensively.

Sangalang also shot well, going 10-for-15 from the field--5-of-7 in the fourth--for 24 points with seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal even as Jalalon, also five rebounds, three assists, and two steals for Magnolia, which now holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Kiefer Ravena scored 20 markers for NLEX in a game where he, a usually steady free throw shooter, only made 7-of-12 from the charity stripe.

Box Scores:

Magnolia 106-Jalalon 25, Sangalang 24, Dela Rosa 17, Lee 14, Ramos 7, Simon 7, Barroca 6, Herndon 4, Reavis 2, Brondial 0, Pascual 0

NLEX 99-Ravena 20, Alas 15, Quinahan 13, Miranda 11, Fonacier 10, Mallari 9, Al-Hussaini 8, Gotladera 6, Tiongson 3, Taulava 2, Baguio 2

Quarterscores: 24-27, 53-51, 79-78, 106-99

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno