|Paul Lee helped the Hotshots spoil|
MANILA--Magnolia held on despite a three-point shooting barrage from Mikey Williams and got one win back in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals with a 106-98 squeaker in Game 3 on Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots scored a much-needed win over the Tropang Giga as the former kept themselves in a good position to steal the title in the season-opening conference.
However, Magnolia had to overcome what would be the best performance for a rookie in a championship series in the 21st century.
Up by 18 points, 95-77, with less than eight minutes left in the game, the Hotshots found themselves in danger of conceding a commanding 3-0 series lead when the Tropang Giga went on an 18-3 run that cut the lead down to three, 98-95, with 1:11 to go.
Williams capped TNT's endgame attack with his 10th three-pointer of the night, setting a new league record for most long toms in a single Finals game.
But a crucial teardrop from Mark Barroca and two clutch free throws from Rome Dela Rosa helped seal the deal for Magnolia in the end.
Paul Lee made 21 points, one rebound, one assist, and one steal for the Hotshots, who cut the Tropang Giga's lead down to 2-1.
Ian Sangalang added 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and one steal.
Williams finished with 39 points, the most for a rookie in the PBA Finals since Eric Menk exploded for 42 points for Tanduay in Game 3 of the 1999 Philippine Cup Finals against Shell.
But as fate would have it, Williams' explosion, like that of Menk, ended up in a losing effort.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno