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Magnolia sets QF date with NLEX; Blackwater falls to showdown with SMB

Paul Lee continues to show a stellar game despite his injury woes. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Magnolia secured the third seed in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals after edging Blackwater, 75-66, in the final game of the elimination round on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

With the win, the Hotshots secured the third seed and will face the sixth-seeded NLEX Road Warriors in the best-of-three quarterfinals beginning on Sunday night at the said arena.

In the low-scoring affair, Magnolia got its offensive rhythm in the second half, outscoring Blackwater, 48-34, to steal the win after being held to just 27 in the first half.

Paul Lee fired 22 points, six rebounds, and one assist for the Hotshots, who actually tied the TNT Tropang Giga and Barangay Ginebra in second place at 8-3 only that the have the tiebreaker due to them beating both the Hotshots and the Gin Kings, giving the Tropang Giga the second seed and the once-to-win quarterfinal bonus.

Magnolia has the second-best quotient, securing them the third seed and dropping Ginebra to the fourth seed and a quarterfinal date with Meralco.

Calvin Abueva added 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks off the bench.

Brandon Rosser made 12 markers, seven boards, one block, and two steals for Blackwater, which finished the conference with its fifth straight loss to drop to 5-6, tying Converge for the seventh seed.

The FiberXers won the tiebreaker thanks to their 92-90 win over the Bossing on Wednesday and will face the Tropang Giga in the quarterfinals, dropping the Bossing to a quarterfinal showdown against the San Miguel Beermen.

Jollo Go, who was signed by Blackwater at the 11th hour to shore up its injury-riddled lineup, had two points, one assist, and one steal in his PBA 5-on-5 debut.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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