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Magnolia sizzles in Q4, weathers late Converge run despite losing Nick Rakocevic

Nick Rakocevic still did enough to outplay Quincy Miller despite fouling out the unconventional way. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Magnolia came alive in the fourth quarter but still needed to heave a sigh of relief in the end to escape with a 109-105 win against Converge in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game on Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Down for most of the second and the third quarter, the Hotshots exploded for 38 points in the final period to stave off the FiberXers.

Converge, though, still put up a fight especially when import Nick Rakocevic was benched in the end due to a flagrant foul.

With the FiberXers down, 105-100, Rakocevic was slapped with a landing spot foul while trying to defend RK Ilagan's three-point attempt, and the former sat out the last 46.2 seconds of the game.

Ilagan, though, could only go 2-for-3 from the free throw line, and the team could not trim the gap further.

Paul Lee then made two free throws on the other end to up the lead back to five, but Abu Tratter converted a corner three to cut the lead down to two, 107-105.

Converge nearly forced a steal off Coach Aldin Ayo's patented "mayhem" defense, but Mark Barroca recovered the ball and quickly called a timeout to avoid an eight-second backcourt violation, leading to the insurance free throws from the returning Calvin Abueva.

Rakocevic finished with 21 points, 24 rebounds, one assist, and one block to lead Magnolia, which moved up to 2-0.

Lee added 20 points, three rebounds, and one assist off the bench.

Quincy Miller exploded for 38 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and one steal for Converge, which fell to 1-1.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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