Pingris returns as Magnolia escapes Phoenix to extend winning streak

MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia built a lead large enough to nose out Phoenix, 99-96, and extend its winning streak in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday, June 22. 

Paul Lee chalked up 27 points and 7 assists, while import James Farr had 26 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 blocks as the Hotshots earned their third straight win after dropping back-to-back games to start the conference.

The Fuel Masters, though, almost staged a come-from-behind win as they managed to shave an 11-point deficit to just 3 points in a run capped by an RJ Jazul three-pointer with 5 seconds remaining.

But Magnolia remained composed in the dying ticks to escape with the victory as Lee secured the ball in the face of 3 defenders attempting to force a turnover. 

Aside from the triumph, the Hotshots also celebrated the return of veteran Marc Pingris, who last played in March 2018 after suffering an ACL injury.

Pingris, limited to a shade under 8 minutes, was scoreless but managed to pull down 3 rebounds. 

Mark Barroca added 11 points, Jio Jalalon chipped in 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Ian Sangalang added 8 points and 8 rebounds for Magnolia. 

Richard Howell dominated in the paint with 36 points, 20 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but Phoenix failed to pull off back-to-back wins as it fell to 2-4. 

Matthew Wright delivered 19 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Jazul put up 15 points in the losing effort. 

The Scores

Magnolia 99 - Lee 27, Farr 26, Barroca 11, Jalalon 10, Dela Rosa 8, Sangalang 8, Brondial 7, Melton 2, Pascual 0, Pingris 0, Herndon 0.

Phoenix 96 - Howell 36, Wright 19, Jazul 15, Chua 8, Marcelo 7, Mallari 6, Wilson 3, Dennison 2, Perkins 0, Kramer 0, Intal 0.

Quarters: 23-24, 47-45, 71-67, 99-96.

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.