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Magnolia takes finals opener vs. SMB

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MANILA — Magnolia Hotshots withstood a late push from Junemar Fajardo to beat San Miguel Beermen, 99-94, in Game 1 of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday night.

The Hotshots appeared to be holding on after a 28-18 third quarter gave them an 80-73 lead, which they preserved in the early goings of the fourth.

Fajardo, however, came alive, scoring 15 points in succession as he brought the Beermen to within one, 94-95, with 1:29 left.

Ian Sangalang kept the Hotshots afloat by making a field goal with 1:15 to play that upped the lead to three, 97-94.

SMB had three chances to tie the game, but the team failed to convert it into reality, giving Paul Lee the chance to seal the win with two free throws.

Lee put up 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Magnolia, which took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Sangalang and Mark Barroca added 17 points.

Fajardo came up with 35 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, and one block for SMB.

The scores

MAGNOLIA 99 – Lee 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 17, Jalalon 16, Reavis 12, Melton 11, Ramos 4, Dela Rosa 4, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Simon 0.

SAN MIGUEL 94 – Fajardo 35, Cabagnot 18, Santos 13, Pessumal 11, Romeo 8, Ross 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Standhardinger 2, Nabong 0, Lassiter 0.

Quarters: 34-30, 52-55, 80-73, 99-94. (PNA)