|Mark Barroca was on a tear. PBA Media Bureau|
By Dugout Philippines
QUEZON CITY--Magnolia Pambansang Manok's deep backcourt rotation hardly made the team missed Paul Lee as the Hotshots marched to their second straight win by blasting NorthPort Batang Pier, 104-87, in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon again came through for the Hotshots as they outplayed their Batang Pier counterpart that was missing leading scorer Stanley Pringle and Nico Elorde (injured).
Barroca led the team with 20 points and five steals, while Jalalon had 13 points and eight assists in the match sponsored by Petron as Magnolia remained undefeated in the conference.
For good measure, veteran Peter June Simon and Justine Melton combined for 12 points in a show of force by the Hotshots' backcourt.
"I'm very happy with the output of my guards. They stepped up big sa last two games namin. I think na-compensate naman nila yung pagkawala ni Paul," said coach Chito Victolero.
Lee will likely continue skip joining his mother ballclub as he's being largely considered by coach Yeng Guiao for inclusion into the national team that will play in the second round of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this month.
The only good thing is that the Hotshots will have a 22-day break following the win over the Batang Pier.
"Sabi ko sa kanya magpahinga na lang muna para at least maka-recover yung body niya at tsaka yung utak niya rin ma-refresh," said Victolero of his top gun. "But we're just ready."
Import Romeo Travis had 15 points, 22 rebounds seven steals for the Hotshots, who finished with an all-time franchise high of 19 steals.
Five straight points by Barroca midway in the third quarter sparked the Hotshots' total breakaway after the Batang Pier closed in at 57-53.
Rome dela Rosa joined Barroca in the scoring fray with his own five-point swing that made up a 10-0 NLEX run and give the team a 67-53 advantage.
The lead ballooned to its biggest at 102-73.
The Batang Pier suffered their third straight loss as they continue to do with a depleted lineup.
Aside from Pringle and Elorde, NorthPort is without injured Sean Anthony and Jeric Teng, prompting the team to sign up free agent guard Jeric Fortuna.
Rashad Woods finished with 25 points, six rebounds, and four assists to show the way for NorthPort.
Magnolia 104 - Barroca 20, Dela Rosa 17, Travis 15, Jalalon 13, Reavis 8, Simon 8, Herndon 8, Melton 4, Brondial 4, Ramos 3, Mendoza 0, Gamalinda 0, Pascual 0, Abundo 0.
NorthPort 87 - Woods 25, Taha 22, Grey 10, Gabayni 10, Tautuaa 9, Guinto 6, Javelona 3, Fortuna 2, Espinas 0, Arana 0, Flores 0.
Quarters: 27-12, 48-39, 75-62, 104-87.
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