Magnolia Hotshots’ Romeo Travis makes an undergoal shot in his comfort zone and out of reach of Jake Pascual of Alaska in Game 5 of the title series last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Joey Mendoza
Hotshots outwit Aces, lead 3-2
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2018 - 12:00am

Lee sinks game winner

Game Wednesday (Ynares-Antipolo)

7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska

MANILA, Philippines — In a duel of runs replete with highlight plays, Paul Lee made the biggest of them all, grabbing the loose ball then coolly sinking an eight-footer from the right flank as Magnolia beat out Alaska Milk, 79-78, in a nerve-wracking match to grab the pivotal 3-2 lead last night in the PBA Governors Cup Finals.

Struggling all series long and even in this game, Lee came through in the clutch, making one big play after another – from the defensive end to the offensive end – to win the incredible game for the Hotshots before a good Friday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I won’t give up on any play. That’s what we’re taught – don’t stop playing hanggang walang pito ang referee at hanggang walang dead ball. Nag-end up sa magandang plays,” said Lee on his heroics at endgame.

Foiling a three-against-one attack by the Aces, Lee then fed Ian Sangalang with a perfect dish, leading to a three-point play that made it 77-76 with time down to 18.7 seconds.

Alaska regained the upper hand on the next play on two free throws by Mike Harris off Rafi Reavis, but Lee came through with another great hustle act to salvage the game and propel the Hotshots to within a game of winning the series.

The two teams take a four-day respite before resuming the series on Wednesday over at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo. On Sunday, they join the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft proceedings at Robinsons Place Manila.

“I think it’s one of the classics the PBA has seen,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

“We’re tired physically and mentally, and it’s really all about heart. Credit to my players for staying together,” Victolero added.

“These two teams can’t play any harder. It’s an incredible game, an instant classic,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, sorry though they lost the game as they were beaten for the loose balls at endgame.

The biggest loose ball was grabbed by Lee after Romeo Travis was smothered by a triple-teaming Alaska defense.

And wide open right in front of their bench, Lee threw the game-winner without hesitation to the wild applause of his teammates and the Magnolia fans.

The Aces still could have won the game but Harris missed a fall-away shot off Travis at the buzzer.

The Magnolia locals terribly outperformed and outscored their Alaska counterparts, 39-24, as the Hotshots took the half at 53-40 after leading by 17 at 51-34.

The scores: 

Magnolia 79 – Sangalang 20, Barroca 14, Jalalon 13, Lee 11, Travis 10, Herndon 6, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 1, Melton 0, Brondial 0.

Alaska 78 – Harris 28, Racal 13, Enciso 13, Pascual 6, Exciminiano 5, Cruz 4, Banchero 3, Teng 2, Manuel 2, Casio 2, Baclao 0.

Quarterscores: 29-28, 53-40, 65-62, 79-78

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