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Tiebreaker Times


Star escapes NLEX on Jalalon buzzer-beater

Jio Jalalon came through when needed the most, hitting the go-ahead jumper at the final buzzer to lift Star Hotshots to a 105-103 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“We needed to make a stop and if we recover, we wanted to go for Paul [Lee] or Jio. But Paul created the situation and it was a nice pass from Tony [Mitchell] to Jio,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero on the 3-0-clinching sequence.

The five-foot-nine point guard tallied 16 markers on efficient 6-of-9 shooting, to go along with six rebounds, four assists, and four steals, for an all-around performance.

The Hotshots had actually erected a 51-30 lead in the second quarter, but found themselves playing catch-up ball late in the fourth quarter, 101-97, after allowing the Road Warriors to surge back in the game in the third canto where they got outscored badly, 40-24.

“There were reminders at halftime to stay focused and don’t look at the score, but NLEX out-hustled and outplayed us in the third and that’s why they were able to recover,” said Victolero.

Star then received a huge lift from reinforcement Tony Mitchell. His shots from the foul line — a lay-up off a pick-and-roll set, and another pair of free throws off a Kevin Alas foul — helped the Hotshots to tie things up once more at 103 with 30 seconds on the clock.

NLEX tried to capitalize on the 30 seconds they had left, but Rabeh Al-Hussaini’s hook shot clanged off the rim. Jalalon grabbed the miss, ran down the floor, then gave it to Mitchell. But Mitchell was swarmed underneath, forcing him to kick it to Jalalon, who then nailed the game-winning jumper.

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“We have to forget about that and play Star basketball and I’m very happy that we stepped up on defense,” the first-year Star mentor added.

Allein Maliksi topscored for Star with 24 markers on 10-of-22 shooting along with six rebounds, while Mitchell added 23 points and 15 rebounds. Peter June Simon had 13.

Wayne Chism carried NLEX with 33 points spiked by four treys along with 19 rebounds, while Carlo Lastimosa backed him up with 13 markers.

Star’s defense proved deadly for NLEX, especially on the passing lanes, as they stripped the ball 10 times which led to half of NLEX’s turnovers. Star were able to score 24 points off of NLEX’s errors.

Star will gun for a 4-0 slate as they take on Mahindra on April 5, Wednesday, 4:15 PM, still at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, while NLEX will face TNT next Friday, April 7, 4:15 PM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

Star (105) – Maliksi 24, Mitchell 23, Jalalon 16, Simon 13, Sangalang 9, Ramos 5, Lee 5, Reavis 4, Barroca 4, Javier 2, Melton 0, Mendoza 0, Dela Rosa 0.

NLEX (103) – Chism 33, Lastimosa 13, Alas 9, Lanete 9, Tiongson 7, Rios 6, Taulava 6, Al-Hussaini 6, Guinto 5, Monfort 4, J. Villanueva 3, Baracel 2, Camson 0, Soyud 0, Khobuntin 0.

Quarterscores: 23-15, 51-34, 75-74, 105-103.

Written By

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

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