Hotshots absorb back-to-back losses

NLEX put on a clinic as they dominated a short-handed Magnolia team in a triumphant return to the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, clinching a convincing 87-74 victory on Saturday.

Robert Bolick and Anthony Semerad showcased their lethal partnership, spearheading NLEX’s stellar performance and propelling them to second place in the PBA Philippine Cup standings with an impressive 5-1 record. Trailing behind them in third place was NorthPort at 4-1.

Without the presence of Calvin Abueva, Magnolia struggled throughout the game and suffered their second consecutive defeat following their successful conference debut against the Converge FiberXers, ending with a lopsided 106-75 loss.

Bolick, who recently shined in the 2024 PBA All-Star Game, delivered another standout performance with 26 points and nine assists, guiding the Road Warriors to their fourth consecutive win and keeping pace with the undefeated San Miguel Beer (4-0).

Semerad also made a significant impact with 22 points and 10 rebounds, taking advantage of Magnolia’s difficulties without Abueva, who was serving a suspension for unsportsmanlike behavior in the Easter Clasico against Barangay Ginebra. The Hotshots, who were coming off a runner-up finish in the previous Commissioner’s Cup, found themselves off to a rough start.

Led by Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca with 13 and 10 points, respectively, Magnolia tried to mount a comeback but NLEX maintained their focus and intensity throughout the game. Despite a brief surge from the Hotshots in the second quarter, the Road Warriors regrouped and secured a comfortable 20-point lead heading into the final period, ultimately sealing the win in dominant fashion.

The scores:

NLEX 87 ā€“ Bolick 26, Semerad 22, Herndon 9, Miranda 6, Nieto 6, Amer 6, Pascual 3, Nermal 2, Marcelo 1, Rodger 0, Anthony 0, Valdez 0.

Magnolia 74 ā€“ Sangalang 13, Escoto 13, Barroca 10, Laput 8, Jalalon 6, Corpuz 5, Lee 5, Mendoza 5, Ahanmisi 4, Eriobu 3, Tratter 2, Reavis 0, Murrell 0.

Quarterscores: 26-12, 37-27, 67-47, 87-74.

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