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Magnolia ends campaign on high, outplay Beermen to finish 7th

Paul Lee led the local Magnolia offensive in the Pambansang Manok's win over the defending champs. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz/ Dugout Philippines

By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY—Magnolia finished its PBA Commissioner’s Cup run on a winning note, downing San Miguel Beer, 101-97, to settle for seventh place in the final elimination day game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday night. 

Wayne Chism scored 21 points and 14 rebounds while Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang each added 14 for the Pambansang Manok, which finished the elimination round at 6-5, but settled for #7 due to a lower quotient over sister teams Barangay Ginebra and the Beerman.

They will set to face #2 and twice-to-beat Alaska in the quarterfinals starting next week.
Despite the loss, the defending champs got the sixth seed and will set to meet #3 TNT KaTropa in a best-of-three affair.

Recovering from a double-digit deficit early on, Robbie Herndon set the tone for the Hotshots in the fourth quarter, drilling two triples for an 87-80 lead and held on from there.  

“Going into the playoffs, it’s a good game for us. A good victory for us. We know na it’s not easy to go to the playoffs. Maraming challenges, import changes, injuries. Now, I think maganda ‘yung last two games naminnakuha namin‘yung character namin,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

Renaldo Balkman issued 31 points, eight rebounds and four assists for SMB, even as June Mar Fajardo had 18 and 12 boards.  
The scores:
Magnolia 101 - Chism 21, Lee 14, Sangalang 14, Barroca 11, Herndon 10, Jalalon 9, Melton 8, Brondial 5, Dela Rosa 4, Simon 3, Gamalinda 2, Reavis 0, Ramos 0.
San Miguel 97 - Balkman 31, Fajardo 18, Santos 13, Lassiter 12, Ross 9, Cabagnot 9, Nabong 5, Rosser 0, Heruela 0.
Quarters: 29-27, 45-44, 78-76, 101-97

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