PBA Semifinals: Paul Lee drains 27 as Magnolia evens series

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippine) — The Magnolia Hotshots pulled level, 1-1, in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against the NLEX Road Warriors in Game 2, 99-84, on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Paul Lee burned his former coach Yeng Guiao by pouring in 27 points in the victory for Magnolia, while Ian Sangalang added 18 markers and eight boards of his own.

The Hotshots found their groove in the second frame, pushing what was a 27-20 advantage after the opening quarter to a 44-32 cushion with 2:38 before the halftime break.

NLEX was able to trim the deficit down before the half, but found themselves starting at a 48-39 Magnolia advantage at the start of the third quarter.

Magnolia continued to bully their way inside the painted area, and eventually pushed their lead to as much as 64-48 in the 6:23 mark of the third frame.

But the Road Warriors would be able to trim it down to 70-62 before the payoff period.

Unfortunately for NLEX, the Hotshots could not be stopped in the final 12 minutes as they pulled away to claim a comfortable victory.

Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan tacked on 13 points each in the loss.

Despite the victory, Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero feels that the injuries that hobbled the Hotshots makes NLEX the favorites to win the series.

"I think we're undermanned, and I think we are underdogs in the series because of Ping and Justin," Victolero said.

Magnolia will get the chance to take the series lead over NLEX in Game 3 on Wednesday at the Big Dome.