Paul Lee struck hardest in the third as the Magnolia Timplados Hotshots turned things around with an insane 47-point quarter and whacked the Meralco Bolts, 108-96, to close in on a twice-to-beat incentive on Sunday night in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Lee unloaded 11 of 27 points in the third period as the Hotshots unleashed one of their best performances in a quarter in six years.
“Coach Chito (Victolero) challenged them. They responded. They scored 37 to nothing on fastbreaks,” said Hotshots’ assistant coach Jason Webb on the team’s offensive burst in the period en route to their ninth win in 11 games.
The Bolts were held to nine points in the first six minutes of the third as the Hotshots unleashed the decisive scoring run. Lee’s pullup jumper signalled the start of a 13-0 salvo that sent the Hotshots ahead at 72-60 in the quarter after trailing, 59-60.
The Hotshots, with import Nicholas Rakovcevic shooting 16 points and pulling down 20 rebounds, finished the third period at 93-74, on Calvin Abueva’s triple.
They went on to enjoy their biggest advantage at the start of the fourth after Abueva connected with a jumper at the 11:49 mark, 95-74.
Magnolia’s third-period surge was the highest in a quarter in the PBA by any team since Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters did it six years ago.
Back then, the Fuel Masters had 49 points in the fourth canto, in a 117-124 setback to the TNT Tropang Giga in the 2016 Governors’ Cup.
Jio Jalalon made 12, while Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca each banged in 11 for the Hotshots, who recovered from their loss to the Bay Area Dragons.
The Hotshots need another win against Rain or Shine on Friday and Magnolia to formally claim the no. 2 spot.
The Bolts, with their 4-5 card, need to win their remaining elimination-round game with the NLEX Road Warriors and the San Miguel Beermen to remain in contention for the quarterfinals.