Lee pushes Magnolia near PBA Govs’ Cup coronation

Magnolia Hotshots’ Paul Lee tries to break away from the defense of Alaska Aces’ Chris Exciminiano in Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven finals last night (Dec. 14, 2018) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Hotshots defeated the Milkmen, 79-78. PBA PHOTO

MANILA – Paul Lee drained the go-ahead basket and Magnolia Hotshots cruised to a 79-78 win over Alaska Aces in Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Trailing 78-77 after two free throws by Aces import Mike Harris, Lee rebounded the blocked shot of his teammate Romeo Travis to drained the jumper with 0.6 seconds left in the match.

Lee, the newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference, finished the match with 11 markers for the Hotshots, which moved a win away from coronation after seizing a 3-2 series lead.

Ian Sangalang led the way with 20 points while Andy Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

The Hotshots has not won a PBA title since 2014.

It was a seesaw battle for both teams early in the game with the Aces slightly ahead at 15-12. The Hotshots countered with a huge run for a 27-23 edge on six straight points by Robbie Herndon but the Aces trimmed it to 28-29.

The game was still tight early in the second period but the Hotshots were able to pull away by as much as 17 points on consecutive hits by Lee.

The Aces got back-to-back triples from Simon Enciso and Kevin Racal to cut the deficit to 40-53.

In the third period, the Aces continued its run behind Harris to tie the count at all. Alaska even went up at 62-57 but baskets from Travis and Jalalon gave Magnolia a 65-62 lead.

The Hotshots had a decisive run early in the fourth quarter behind Andy Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang for a 74-66 lead. But the Aces slowly clawed its way back to regain the advantage at 76-74 on a Racal basket.

Harris finished the match with 28 points, while Racal and Enciso had 13 points each for the Aces./PN


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