|Mark Barroca not just led Magnolia to victory but also breached the 5,000-point mark for his career. PBA Images|
PASAY--Magnolia rode on an explosive second quarter but still needed to hold off NLEX in the end for a 98-89 win at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Despite dropping 40 points in the second period, the Hotshots only prevailed over the Road Warriors when the latter fizzled down the stretch despite threatening to pull off a huge comeback.
Down 24-26 at the end of the first quarter, Magnolia erupted for 40 in the second to take a 64-47 halftime lead over NLEX.
However, the Road Warriors stepped up their defense in the second half, holding the Hotshots to just a total of 34 points in the second half even as the former drew to within seven, 89-96, with 1:23 to go in the fourth period.
Magnolia's last two points, however, were crucial as Calvin Abueva broke away for the dagger slam off an Aris Dionisio steal.
Mark Barroca came alive for 18 points in the first half and finished with 24 points, just three off his career-high, alongside seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Hotshots, who can close out the series on Friday night at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
He also entered the history books as his layup with 7:34 left in the third quarter officially enlisted him to the 5,000 Points Club.
Abueva and Paul Lee each added 13 points.
Anthony Semerad made 19 markers, six boards, and one dime for the Road Warriors.
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