May 31, 2023

Barroca, Lee take charge as Magnolia beats Converge in thrilling finish

MARK Barroca and Paul Lee took charge of the closeout as Magnolia secured a pulsating 99-95 victory over Converge and went 2-0 in the PBA On Tour Wednesday night at Ynares Sports Arena.

Barroca fired 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter and made a couple of key defensive gems while Lee nailed two clutch triples to save the Hotshots from a near monumental collapse and take a followup to their opening 117-83 rout of Blackwater.

The FiberXers wiped out the Hotshots's initial 14-point upperhand behind the three-point bombing of Kevin Racal and even took a 95-92 cushion going to the last 1:49 of the match presented by Arena Plus and sponsored by Bingo Plus.

But Barroca strung up six straight points, including a pair of cold-blooded free throws, to lead a 7-0 windup that propelled Magnolia to the W.

"Gusto naming mag-build ng winning mindset before maglaro sa season sa October kaya all-out kami," said Barroca, whose defensive stops against Jeron Teng and Alec Stockton in the stretch proved critical for Chito Victolero's troops.

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Lee topscored for Magnolia with 21 spiked by five triples while 3x3 standout Jed Mendoza shot 14 on a 5-of-6 field goal shooting in filling in for the injured Jio Jalalon. Jerick Ahanmisi also turned in 12 as James Laput (eight markers and 10 rebounds) and Abu Tratter (eight points, six rebounds) manned the frontcourt in the absence of Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva.

Racal rifled in 22 highlighted by a 4-of-5 three-point shooting to pace the FiberXers, who slipped to 1-1. Jerrick Balanza (20) and birthday boy Mike Nieto (18 laced by 4-of-6 marksmanship from deep) also contributed heavily for the Aldin Ayo-coached team. (OL)

The Scores:

MAGNOLIA 99 - Lee 21, Mendoza 14, Ahanmisi 12, Barroca 12, Tratter 8, Laput 8, Eriobu 8, Murrel 6, Corpuz 6, Dela Rosa 4.

CONVERGE 95 - Racal 22, Balanza 20, Nieto 18, Stockton 7, Arana 6, Ebona 5, Mendoza 5, Ambohot 4, Guinto 0.

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QUARTERS: 22-14, 45-35, 71-64, 99-95