Paul Lee completed a 4-point play with 32 seconds left in the game to key Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok's 103-100 victory over NLEX in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City, Pampanga.
NLEX saw a 22-point lead it built in the 3rd quarter evaporate, but recovered late in the 4th for a 100-97 lead.
Lee then buried a 3-pointer and sank a bonus free throw after he was clipped by Anthony Semerad.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero acknowledged his squad had to shake off some rust against NLEX.
"I know malaki ang adjustment sa amin this is our first game in 7 months," Victolero said.
"Nu'ng first half wala kaming rhythm, 'yung condition namin hindi ganun. I told them we need an uptempo game lucky naman nakinig sila at nakabalik kami."
Chris Banchero led the way in scoring for the Hotshots, coming off the bench with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Lee had 18 points, and Jio Jalalon added 19, but defense won it for Magnolia.
The Hotsots forced the Road Warriors to commit 25 turnovers, which translated to 31 points for Magnolia.
"This is our strength our defense, kundi namin gagawin magiging delikado talaga," said Victolero.
Magnolia, which lost to San Miguel Beer in the actual season opener in March before action was called off because of the pandemic, upped its record to 1-1.
NLEX, meanwhile, fell to 0-2.
The loss spoiled Kiefer Ravena's 27-point effort for NLEX, which saw key players Kiefer Alas (fouled out), JR Quiñahan (fouled out), and Jericho Cruz (hurt ankle) exit in the fourth quarter.