MANILA – Magnolia Hotshots turned things around in the second half to halt TNT KaTropa 111-89 in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Paul Lee made 25 points to help Hotshots snap its two-game slide and move up 4-4. Justin Jackson had double-double 18 points and 19 rebounds while Rodney Brondial had 16 markers.
A game prior, GlobalPort Batang Pier bucked the ejection of import Malcolm White to score a come-from-behind 98-94 victory over defending champion San Miguel Beermen.
Trailing by double figures in the first half, Hotshots charged in the third quarter on conversions from Lee, Jackson, Brondial, and Aldrech Ramos to take a 79-73 advantage.
Hotshots opened the fourth quarter with consecutive triples from Brondial and Rome dela Rosa to raise its lead to its largest in the match 99-76 on fast-break baskets by Jio Jalalon.
Three-point hits from Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro allowed KaTropa to make its last push and come to within 85-102 but baskets from Jackson and Brondial raised Hotshots’ lead to 22 points.
Romeo finished with 17 points, Roger Pogoy added 16 markers (including four 3-point conversions) and Joshua Smith had double-double 12 points and 11 rebounds for KaTropa (6-2).
Batang Pier – after being down by as much as 12 points – clawed its way back to tie the scores 92-all on a layup by Stanley Pringle before taking a 95-92 lead on a triple by Juan Nicholas Elorde.
Beermen trimmed the deficit 94-95 on free throws by Renaldo Balkman. It had a chance to regain the lead but turned the ball over, leading to a layup by Batang Pier’s Moala Tautuaa. Elorde sealed GlobalPort’s win with a free throw.
White finished with double-double 25 points and 10 rebounds before getting ejected with two technical fouls. Pringle added 22 markers for Batang Pier (4-4). Beermen fell to 3-4./PN