Magnolia and Bay Area grab the first two seats in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semifinals.
Abueva leads Magnolia past Phoenix
The Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots booked their semifinals ticket after carving out a 102-95 win over the Phoenix Super LPG. Magnolia import Nick Rakocevic brushed off an injury to finish the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 steals.
Calvin Abueva was also a thorn in the Fuel Masters’ side, as he came off the bench to produce a game-high 19 markers. Abueva also hit a couple of daggers in the clutch, including an awkward-looking floater and an up-and-under post move against the defense of Phoenix forward Javee Mocon.
Tyler Tio topscored for Phoenix with 18 points, while Encho Serrano and Kaleb Wesson chipped in 16 apiece. It’s the end of the Fuel Masters’ conference, a campaign that saw them bounce back from a 0-3 start.
Nicholson, Bay Area barge into the next round
The Bay Area Dragons also reached the semifinals via a convincing 126-96 beating of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Hayden Blankley erupted for 47 points in the win, including a stellar 10-of-13 clip from the three-point line. Andrew Nicholson, who replaced the injured Myles Powell, turned in a 32-point outing.
It wasn’t much of a fight even in the early goings, as Bay Area raced to a 16-point lead after two quarters. The Dragons’ lead eventually grew to 34 in the second half, asserting their mastery of the Elasto Painters.
Rey Nambatac had 19 points for Rain or Shine, while import Ryan Pearson finished with only 15 points. The Yeng Guiao-led Elasto Painters will now set their sights on the upcoming Governors’ Cup next year.