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Magnolia ends long slump, blasts TNT

Paul Lee sparked the Hotshots' second half show. PBA Media Bureau
By Dugout Philippines

PASAY--Magnolia Pambansang Manok snapped a three-game losing skein and stopped TNT KaTropa's three-game charge with a 111-89 victory behind a stirring final half in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the MOA Arena Wednesday night.

The Hotshots pounded the Texters, 36-25, in the third quarter and punished TNT even a lot more, 32-16, in the fourth period on the way to a fourth win in eight games in the midseason tourney.

Paul Lee scored 17 of his 25 points in the third, leading their amazing charge from 43-48 down at halftime.

"Lahat nagtrabaho ngayon lalo na sa depensa. Nasunod ang game plan ni coach (Chito Victolero)," said Lee after the game.

Justin Jackson took a bad fall but rose up and continued to play to help the Hotshots get back on track. The second import sub of Magnolia collected a near triple-double performance with 18 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists against five turnovers.

"It's a must-win game for us so I stood up," said Jackson.

Rodney Brondial, Aldrech Ramos, Mark Barroca, Rome dela Rosa and Justin Melton also played key roles as they regained their winning ways, ahead of another key match with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

They stayed abreast with the GlobalPort batang Pier at 4-4 while dropping the Texters down to third place at 6-2, behind the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (7-1) and the Alaska Milk Aces (6-1).

TNT is up next against San Miguel Beer on Saturday at the same Pasay City playing venue, and the Texters must recover right away if they're to stay in the fight for the Top Two and its lofty reward of a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals.

The Texters dominated the first half but suddenly lost energy and firepower in the second half.

They're actually still right behind Magnolia at 73-79 at the start of the third before the Hotshots stepped up even more, unleashing a huge 20-3 run to start the payoff period.

In the last 6:15 mark, Terrence Romeo ended their long scoreless spell with a booming trey but Josh Smith was called for a flagrant infraction on Kyle Pascual on the same sequence.

With Smith sitting the next three minutes of action, the Hotshots breezed through to victory.

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