MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia held back San Miguel Beer, 99-94, for a 1-0 lead in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup final on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee showed up big for the Hotshots, who also won the final opening last year but eventually abandoned the next four games to lose in the series.
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“I talked to my players at half-time and I told them we could not beat San Miguel at the attacking point and I am very happy because they responded to the challenge by playing defense in the second half to get San Miguel to below 100 points. and that’s the key, ”said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Sangalang doubled with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Lee had 18 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Hotshots overcame June Mar Fajardo’s hard effort of 35 points and 21 rebounds.
Fajardo was unstoppable in the fourth quarter where he scored his team’s last 15 points within the last seven minutes, but his production was still not enough as San Miguel got cold from outside.
The Beermen scored 9-of-36 from long range, including 0-out-8 by Marcio Lassiter, who had just returned after being sidelined with back-to-back spasms in the last three semi-final games against Phoenix.
Alex Cabagnot added 18 points for San Miguel, who shot just 38 percent from the field. the Beermen lost despite hitting 17 more free throws than the Hotshots.
Match 2 is still at Araneta Coliseum on Friday, 19:00.
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