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Melton saves Star from Alaska in extra period


Epic comeback

The Star Hotshots showed poise down the stretch, coming back from a gargantuan 21-point deficit to stave off Alaska Aces in overtime, 102-98, to head into the playoffs strongly, Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The victory have sent the Hotshots on top of the standings with a 9-2 record, but their status might change come Friday night depending on the outcomes of 8-2 teams Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel’s respective assignments.

Ricardo Ratliffe topbilled for Star with 35 points, including the game-sealing charities, alongside 28 rebounds, three assists, and five blocks. Paul Lee backed him up with 18 markers on 38 percent shooting to go with five boards.

“Before the start of this game, I told my players this is a grinding game. We had a bad start. Yung mga players siguro di pa ready na Alaska will come out strong,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero in the hard-earned win.

Down by four, 97-93, after a long Paul Lee triple with 1:32 to go in overtime, the Aces scored five straight off a Cory Jefferson triple and a Calvin Abueva lay-up to take the lead, 98-97, with 50.1 seconds left to play.

But that proved to be Alaska’s last taste of the lead, as Justin Melton nailed a go-ahead triple with 26.2 ticks to go. Ratliffe perfected his charities 16 seconds later to put the Hotshots up once more, 102-98, and for good.

“It’s a test of character. I’m proud of my players,” added Victolero in the exhilarating victory.

The diminutive Melton supplied 12 markers on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond-the-arc for the Hotshots, while Ian Sangalang added 10 points

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The Hotshots had to endure a 21-point deficit, 73-52, late in the third, but made it an entire new ballgame in the payoff period through an overwhelming 34-8 spree led and punctuated by Lee’s tough jumper to take the lead, 86-81.

Both squads traded blows from that point on, nailing tough shot after tough shot. Alaska had chances to prevent the extra five minutes to take place, but Jefferson’s triple attempt did not meet the bottom of the net.

Abueva paced the Aces with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting along with seven caroms and four steals, while Jefferson provided 21 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Chris Banchero produced 19 points and seven dimes.

Alaska has now absorbed their seventh straight defeat and are now owning a 4-7 card, creating a three-way logjam with Phoenix and Globalport.

Both squads shot 37 percent from the floor. Star collared more boards, 64-52, but committed 26 miscues, which was then converted by Alaska to 25 points.

The Scores:

Star (102) – Ratliffe 35, Lee 18, Melton 12, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Ramos 7, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 3, Barroca 2, Abundo 0, Brondial 0.

Alaska (98) – Abueva 22, Jefferson 21, Banchero 19, Racal 13, Thoss 9, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Enciso 2, Hontiveros 2, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0.

Quarterscores: 14-26, 34-47, 56-73, 89-89, 102-98.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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