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PBA: Magnolia, undefeated, defeats San Miguel and secures a quarterfinal spot; after an outstanding 54-point PBA debut, Meralco considers keeping import Lofton

Dec 11, 2023

At the Philsports Arena on Sunday, MAGNOLIA Chicken Timplados maintained its perfect record with a 94-90 victory over San Miguel in the 2023–24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

With 31 points and 21 rebounds, Tyler Bey helped the Hotshots win for the seventh time in a row and officially secure their place in the quarterfinals.

With little under two minutes left in the game, Magnolia had a 90-80 advantage over San Miguel and withstood a late comeback by the latter.

With the arduous victory, Magnolia matched the record set during the 2008 Philippine Cup for its best start in a conference in franchise history.

June Mar Fajardo sustained a fracture to his left hand, which would require four to six weeks of recovery, while the Hotshots also handed the Beermen their second consecutive defeat.

With consecutive baskets from Bey, the team pulled away from an 82-79 lead with an 8-1 run.

Jio Jalalon contributed 11 points and 11 assists, while James Laput added 14 points and seven rebounds for Magnolia.

With Ivan Aska scoring 29 points and pulling down six rebounds and Jericho Cruz scoring 16 points, San Miguel was able to take a 60-55 lead in the third quarter, but Magnolia closed the quarter with a 68-67 advantage.

The Scores

Magnolia 94 – Bey 31, Laput 14, Jalalon 11, Barroca 10, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 6, Sangalang 4, Ahanmisi 3, Lee 2, Reavis 2, Tratter 1, Mendoza 0.

San Miguel 90 – Aska 29, Cruz 16, Tautuaa 12, Lassiter 9, Brondial 9, Ross 7, Perez 4, Mallilin 2, Bulanadi 2.

Quarter scores: 17-19; 44-39; 68-67; 94-90.

Meanwhile, Zach Lofton’s 54 points on Sunday night had MERALCO thinking that he might stay for the rest of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The 31-year-old Lofton is expected to serve as a temporary substitute for Su Braimoh, who suffered an Achilles injury during their previous game against NLEX last week, according to head coach Luigi Trillo.

Along with Prince Ibeh, Lofton is an import for Meralco as they participate in the East Asia Super League.

After Sunday’s game, Trillo acknowledged that Lofton might decide to remain permanently.

Lofton claimed that because he was already a member of the Meralco squad in the EASL, he had little transition time and felt completely at home there. The former Detroit Piston added that he already thought of the team as a family, adding that some of them had already planned a Thanksgiving dinner.

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