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Magnolia shocks SMB in PBA PH Cup Finals opener

Paul Lee sealed the win for the Hotshots. Dennis Acosta

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Magnolia opened the PBA Philippine Cup Finals with a stunning 99-94 win against San Miguel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday night.

And that is despite the Beermen providing the Hotshots with a late scare.

Recovering from a subpar second quarter, Magnolia outscored SMB, 28-18, in the third to take an 80-73 lead and was holding its opponent off for most of the fourth.

But Junemar Fajardo carried the fight for the Beermen, scoring their last 15 points and trim the lead down to one, 95-94, with 1:29 left.

Ian Sangalang provided some cushion for the Hotshots with a field goal in the next play that stretched their lead to three, 97-94.

SMB had chances to even equalized, but the team missed three straight three-point attempts, the last one a wide-open try from Marcio Lassiter that badly went off target.

Paul Lee eventually sealed the win with two clutch free throws.

Lee finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Magnolia.

Sangalang and Mark Barroca added 17 points.

Fajardo's 35-point, 21-rebound, two-assist, and one-block showing went down the drain as SMB, the defending champ, uncharacteristically dropped Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 99 - Lee 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 17, Jalalon 16, Reavis 12, Melton 11, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 4, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.

SAN MIGUEL 94 - Fajardo 35, Cabagnot 18, Santos 13, Pessumal 11, Romeo 8, Ross 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Standhardinger 2, Nabong 0, Lassiter 0.

Quarters: 34-30, 52-55, 80-73, 99-94.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno