Magnolia pulls away late to beat Phoenix, secure semis seat

Calvin Abueva caught fire against his former team. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Magnolia zoomed ahead within the final 5:33 of the game to eliminate a gritty Phoenix squad with a 102-95 win in their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinal game on Friday night at the PhilSports Arena.

The Hotshots went on a 10-1 run to break an 86-all tie even as the Fuel Masters had to settle with an exchange of baskets in the end.

Calvin Abueva found his rhythm in the second half and led Magnolia, which sealed its own place in the semifinals, with 19 points, five rebounds, one assist, and three steals off the bench. 

Nick Rakocevic also sizzled late and finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, five blocks, and four steals.

The team played sans head coach Chito Victolero, who entered the PBA's health and safety protocols.

Tyler Tio fired 18 points, two rebounds, and four assists off the bench, while Encho Serrano and Kaleb Wesson added 16 points with Wesson even coming close to a triple-double with 12 rebounds and nine assists for Phoenix.

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